Off Day Mailbag: What's more likely -- Antonio Brown returning this year, Rob Gronkowski next year?

WEEI
November 21, 2019 - 3:03 pm
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Welcome to another Off Day Mailbag where Andy Hart and Ryan Hannable answer questions leftover from their weekly podcast.

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Look for @OffDayPod seeking questions for the podcast and mailbag. Tweet your questions to that account and then look for them to appear in the podcast, mailbag, or even both. 

What's more likely? AB re-joining this year? Gronk re-joining next season? (@JediKnightDub)

While I don’t think it’s all that likely that either of these things happens at this point – I’d put both well below 50-percent – I’m going to say there is a better chance that Antonio Brown returns to New England this year. There just seems to be a lot of smoke leading us in that direction over the last few days. The Instagram apology was interesting, and could be seen as the first move in a multi-step plan to return. Brown’s meeting with the NFL is a factor. His lawsuit also muddies the water. At this point, I just feel like Rob Gronkowski has moved on from football and moved on from the Patriots. AB wants to come back. That’s the first step toward actually seeing one of these things happen. But it takes two to Tango.

— Andy Hart

Would you rather have 2006/7 Laurence Maroney or Sony Michel? Which was the more disappointing first round pick? (@JHaertzen)

This is a really good one. Sony Michel was the more disappointing first-round pick given how talented he was at Georgia, but as for who I would rather have now? I think I would have to go with Maroney. He averaged 4.3 yards per attempt in 2006 and then 4.5 yards per attempt in 2007. Michel isn’t even close to that right now. Maroney also caught 22 passes in 2006 and Michel hasn’t shown any ability to catch the ball this year. It wasn’t easy, but we’re going with Maroney as the player we’d rather have right now.

— Ryan Hannable

More likely this Sunday. Sony runs for less than 50 yards or Zeke runs for 75+ yards? (@ChriswithaTIAN)

This is a better question than I thought at first glance. Michel has rushed for less than 50 yards in each of the last two weeks and five of 10 games this season. Ezekiel Elliot has topped 75 yards in five of 10 games this season, but not over the last two contests. I’m going to say it is more likely that Elliot goes for more than 75 yards against a suspect Patriots run defense. Michel could get a boost from Isaiah Wynn’s likely return to the left tackle spot but I still have very little confidence in the New England run game. Still, it’s an interesting if unfortunate discussion point from a Patriots perspective.

— Andy Hart

Why didnt the Patriots bring in a return specialist when Gunnahhhhh first went down with an injury?  I know Andy referred to Patterson last year as a JAG receiver but I’d feel better about having him than Sanu, Edelman or Bolden right now returning punts. (@Ryong901)

First off, Cordarrelle Patterson did not return punts — he was solely a kick returner. But, when it comes to returning punts, the Patriots are just fine right now. Mohamed Sanu has taken over for Gunner Olszewski and when the games matter more, like the playoffs, it seems very likely Julian Edelman will assume the role. Right now, it isn’t worth the injury risk, but maybe even against the Texans and Chiefs — games that matter more — he could start being back there because he’s shown he can be very effective at it.

— Ryan Hannable

Where would you rank a trio of @Edelman11, @Mo_12_Sanu and @AB84 among the trio's of receivers NE has had the past 20 years? (@xxisaacgogelxx)

While this remains a hypothetical until the point if/when Antonio Brown returns to the Patriots, I’m happy to play along. I think the trio of Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu and Brown would be comparable to the best groups that Tom Brady has ever had to work with. The top contender would be the 2007 group of Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth. If tight ends are included than the mix then the Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez corps of 2011 also gets consideration. I would take the 2007 group first and then probably the Brown-led trio, although it would be nice to see three actually play a game together before comparing them to the greatest passing attack in Patriots history.

— Andy Hart

Related: No Patriots defensive players leading Pro Bowl voting at respective positions