The New England Patriots have lost star wide receiver Josh Gordon for good this season due to mental health issues, so how are they going to make up his production? Gordon put up over 700 yards and 3 scores during 11 games for the Pats.
The good news is, they've got talent all over the offensive side of the ball. They just need the consistency. Here are four players - besides Tom Brady - who need to step up for New England as they head into the postseason.
4. Chris Hogan
It wasn't too long ago that Chris Hogan played the role of the No. 2 receiver on the team, and he'll have to duplicate the numbers from that 2016 season. Hogan had nearly 700 yards and 4 scores that year.
Now, he'll need to do it again. Hogan will have to be the next man up after Gordon has left, and he's certainly capable of catching the deep ball.
3. Cordarrelle Patterson
Patterson has been a Swiss-army knife for the New England Patriots this season, but he'll need to be more following Gordon's departure. He's done it all: rushing, receiving, and kick returning, and he'll have to do it all at a higher production rate.
Patterson can help most in the return game, making the field shorter for the Pats' offense whenever possible. However, he's also a powerful runner and an experienced receiver.
2. Julian Edelman
Edelman has been productive in 10 games this season, posting over 700 yards with 4 TDs, but he's now the top receiver again on the Patriots. He's used to it. Edelman has thrived as the featured receiver in years past, and he'll need to do so again for the remained of 2018.
Edelman also needs to be cognizant of the fact that the talent drop off from him and Chris Hogan is quite immense. Jules may have to absolutely carry this receiving core.
1. Rob Gronkowski
It turns out that the best receiver on the Patriots isn't a receiver, it's a tight end. Gronk has been the Pats' top option for years now. He just needs to get healthy.
Gronkowski when healthy is the best tight end in football, and many consider him to be one of the best to play the position in NFL history. This season has seen some inconsistency from him, but at 29-years-old, he's still got the juice to be one of the best.
He's not the hero Foxborough deserves, but the one they need.