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What recent wide receiver additions mean for Patriots offense

Ryan Hannable
September 11, 2018 - 1:52 pm

It was a busy Tuesday for the Patriots are they reportedly added two wide receivers -- Corey Coleman and Bennie Fowler.

No, neither of these players are Dez Bryant, but given Riley McCarron and Chad Hansen were cut Monday, the team only had three receivers on the roster so something needed to be done.

The current Patriots wide receiver depth chart is as follows: Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, Coleman and Fowler.

Coleman is a first-round pick, so clearly he has talent, but the Patriots are his third team in the last month, which usually is not a good thing. The wide out asked for a trade out of Cleveland and was shipped to Buffalo, but then cut on cut-down weekend. In his two seasons with the Browns, he totaled 56 receptions for 718 yards with five touchdowns, but battled injuries.

Fowler spent four years in Denver, three coming on the active roster, and had 56 catches for 698 yards and five touchdowns in 45 regular-season games. He also was a core special teamer, which may have factored into the signing as the Patriots struggled on kick coverage Sunday against the Texans. The Patriots really never replaced Brandon Bolden, who was almost exclusively a special teams player.

Another thing to consider is a potential punt returner, as McCarron was that guy Sunday, and he's now gone. Coleman doesn't have any experience and Fowler has one punt return in his career. The team could have either Patterson or Patrick Chung do it, but they don't have much experience either. It's still very much up in the air what the plan is in that regard.

With how many receivers have already come and gone in the last few weeks, it feels like the team is just hoping one sticks since Julian Edelman will be back come Week 5. These signings aren't big financial burdens as since they were signed after Week 1, their deals are not guaranteed. They are also just the No. 4/5 options on the depth chart.

It's also worth noting how tough it is to pick up the Patriots offense.

Dorsett came in around this time last year and it took him almost a full year in the system to be fully comfortable. Coleman is a player who could be more in the plans for the future, more than just this year. Fowler feels more like a special teams add more than anything, especially given what happened to the unit against the Texans. Of course wide receiver skills help, but he's more known for special teams.

While the Patriots certainly need bodies at the position, it does not appear any of these two players will be able to make major impacts to the offense, at least for this season. Bottom line, temper any expectations.

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