It seems like every season the New England Patriots have a player that kind of emerges out of nowhere and ends up playing a key role on offense or defense. As the regular season is winding down and the postseason is quickly approaching, it appears Wide Receiver/Punt Returner Julian Edelman could be that guy. His playing time has been sporadic this season but with the latest injury to tight end Rob Gronkowski and the release of veteran wideout Deion Branch, Edelman showed the Pats Sunday what kind of impact he can make when given the opportunity. He’s the do everything man for the Pats. He’s even played defense while in New England and while he didn’t have to go that far yesterday, his versatility was very much on display. The former college QB returned a punt for touchdown against the Colts, caught five passes, including a touchdown, and nearly scored a rushing TD as well. It’s that kind of versatility that makes him a great fit in New England and could lead to a bigger role as the playoffs approach.
Julian Edelman joined WEEI in Boston with Mut and Merloni to talk about what kind of punt is best for him to return, on being close to a rushing touchdown as well as the other two TD’s he already had, if the gameplan was to get him more involved as a receiver this week, on the offseason for him where he got together with Tom Brady, how much easier it makes things on the receivers to have Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and how much the injury to Gronk will hurt the Patriots today.
What kind of punt is best for him to return:
“Right down the middle, kind of shanked off his foot where it doesn’t turn over and it’s low and you’re going to get it quick. With your blockers out there you have a vice out there holding the gunners. Those are usually the ideal punts that you want. (Host: Pretty much the one you had yesterday?) That was a good punt to have.”
On being close to a rushing touchdown as well as other two TD’s he already had:
“We were close and we were fortunate to set the drive up for a touchdown on that play and kind of execute a little bit of the four minute offense.”
If the gameplan was to get him more involved as a receiver this week:
“The gameplan was to just go out and execute what we had been practicing all week. This week I was fortunate enough to get some opportunity on the outside, with some guys banged up and some of the transactions we made. If you’re going to get that opportunity you have to do something with it and we did alright.”
On his offseason working out with Tom Brady:
“It was a big offseason. That’s where you get your fundamentals and you build the cohesive unit is in the offseason and the preparation. It’s kind of like painting. Painting is easy, it’s prepping the wall that is hard and that’s where you gain your confidence, timing and rhythm, it’s all in the offseason, Training Camp and that’s when it translates over to the regular season.”
How much easier it makes things on the receivers to have Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on the field together:
“Those two guys are studs and we’re very fortunate to have them. They do help us on the outside because you have to know that they’re out there. It’s good to have those two out there along with a guy like Wes (Welker), Brandon Lloyd, we have some running backs that are doing well, Woody (Danny Woodhead) who comes out on third down and does well, you have (Stevan) Ridley who is running through the storm we have (Brandon) Bolden, we have (Shane) Vereen so we have a lot of weapons and if we execute what we have to do then good things will happen.”
How much the injury to Gronk hurts the team:
“Like you said the next man has got to come up. It’s very unfortunate. Gronk is a huge part of our team but injuries are a part of the game, you have to move on, someone is going to have to step up and I’m sure someone will.”