The New England Patriots have had a remarkable turnaround from the 2020 season. In 2020, they finished 7-9 and arguably had one of the worst rosters in the NFL. Then in the off-season, Bill Belichick and the Patriots went on a free agency shopping spree. That and a quality 2021 NFL draft class has produced a 9-5 season with the playoffs looking more than likely to happen. Remember, the first free agency signing the Patriots had was tight end Jonnu Smith from the Tennessee Titans. The Patriots had signed Smith to a four year, 50 million dollar contract at the beginning of free agency. So far, the tight end has 27 catches for 274 yards and one touchdown reception: not exactly mind-blowing numbers. But honestly, the Patriots need more out of Jonnu Smith for a successful playoff run and here’s why.
The Patriots know of Jonnu Smith and his Speed/Athleticism
The Patriots signed Jonnu Smith for a reason. They know his fast, explosive, and can gain significant yardage after the catch. His speed in the open field? Forget about it! Jonnu has done a great job this year in the run game with his blocking. The offense has also included him in some jet sweep packages to mix things up a little bit. Smith’s speed and athleticism can be a huge asset for the Patriots when the playoffs start. I think we all just want to see him a little bit more in the passing attack.
What if Hunter Henry Gets Hurt Again?
Remember Hunter Henry’s injury in training camp? Yeah, that’s not uncommon for Henry. He’s having a really good first season for the Patriots. Henry continues to be a legitimate red zone threat for Mac Jones and the Patriots offense. But what happens if Henry is out again? Given his injury history in the past? That’s where the Patriots will need Smith even more. Smith will be continue to be used in the offense, no doubt about it. But if Henry gets hurt again, Smith will need to be that red zone threat that the Patriots needed so desperately in 2020.
It’s Jonnu Smith’s first year in New England. I still think he’s going to be a monster offensively for the Patriots in years to come. The playoffs could be a starting point into having a legendary career in New England. Don’t be surprised if more touchdown receptions come Smith’s way in the upcoming weeks, leading into the playoffs.
(Featured image credit: boston.com)
-Al Nahigian (@BigAl2793 on Twitter)
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