Stock Up: Rob Gronkowski ( 5.7, Q2 2013; DNP, Q1 2013) The NFL is a better place when the league’s best players are on the field rather than the treatment table and it’s a pleasant surprise this season to be able to comment on a player heading away from the treatment table rather than towards it. In only three games this month Gronkowski was targeted 32 times with only one drop offering his typical impact on intermediate targets. His run blocking was poor this week so he’s still got some work to do to return to his absolute best but time is on his side to play his way into his best form over the remainder of the season.
Stock Down: Julian Edelman (-5.8, Q2 2013; 4.8, Q1 2013) In spite of being targeted 12 less times this month Edelman managed to drop three more pass (five) than he did in the first month of the season and was marginalized after being one of the league’s most targeted receivers in a tough first month for the Patriots’ passing game. The return of Gronkowski and Danny Amendola along with Tom Brady’s growing trust in the younger receivers may see Edelman’s role marginalized further next month unless injuries rear their ugly head again in the New England passing game.
Good read from Nick Underhill about the somewhat underappreciated punt return efforts of Edelman.
Edelman has used this formula to great success throughout his career and has emerged as one of the sports preeminent punt returners. With 21 yards for 243 yards this season (11.6 per return), the wide receiver has a career average of 12.8 yards per return, which ties him for the NFL’s all-time mark with Jake Christiansen and George McAfee. Edelman’s current average ranks fifth in the NFL among players with 10 or more punt returns, though he and Seattle’s Golden Tate are the only players on that list that have not returned a punt for a touchdown. After taking one back in each of the last three seasons, it seems to be a matter of time before Edelman uses his speed, quickness and smarts to take one back.