4 reasons Julian Edelman is not going to be the Patriots’ next QB

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After three weeks, the Patriots might be out of quarterbacks.

Jacoby Brissett injured his thumb in Week 3, Jimmy Garappolo sprained his shoulder in Week 2, and Tom Brady is suspended until Week 5.

There are no practice squad players to call up, and while there are some guys on the street who could sign with the Patriots, who have a long week before taking on Buffalo on Oct. 2, but does Bill Belichick want to start some random guy for one game?

Despite the injuries, Patriots fans are rightfully riding high, as the team has started 3-0 without Brady. But that confidence is bordering on cocky. Some are suggesting that Julian Edelman, the team’s best receiver, should start at quarterback in Week 4.

Edelman was a quarterback in college and was the Patriots’ emergency backup quarterback in Thursday night’s 27-0 win over the Texans.

Brady will be back for Week 5. It’s one game, why not try it?

Let me tell you why:

 

The game counts

The Patriots are 3-0, so they can lose a game, right? They might as well have some fun losing it by doing something different. That logic might work for you and me, but that nonsense and frivolity won’t fly with Belichick.

The Patriots are probably not going to go undefeated this season, so it would be foolish to give away a game for fun.

Can you imagine if the Patriots missed out on home-field advantage for the AFC Championship Game by one loss and had to travel to Pittsburgh, or worse, Denver for that critical contest? The Edelman experience wouldn’t look so fun then.

 

Edelman is a bad quarterback

There’s a reason that Edelman is a wide receiver. There’s a reason he was drafted as a wide receiver. The last time Edelman played quarterback was 2008, for Kent State when he completed 153 of 275 passes for 1,820 yards. If you’re completing only 55 percent of your passes in the MAC, you better have a rocket arm. Edelman does not. But he did have some ability in the run game, which led Kent State to run the option often and the Patriots to see him as a wide receiver.

Edelman would have to run some sort of quasi-spread-option set that defenses would key in on immediately — they'd dare him to throw all game under intense pressure. Edelman would be pounded into the ground when Buffalo stacks 10 defenders in the box. At that point, the Patriots might have to play the rest of the season without their top wide receiver.

 

There are quarterbacks on the street who know the system

Both Matt Flynn and Ryan Lindley (pictured above) have been members of the Patriots and are free agents. Neither guy is any good, but they are both familiar with the Patriots’ offensive system and can stand in for a week. The Patriots also could give the Tennessee Titans a throwaway draft pick for Matt Cassel, who apparently still is in the NFL. The Patriots could sign Michael Vick or T.J. Yates and give them a crash course on their systems with the team’s long week — they’re experienced NFL quarterbacks, surely they can handle it. All of those players could run the Patriots’ offense as-is. They might not run it well, but New England shouldn’t change its offensive system for one game because it’d be fun. Edelman is the emergency backup for a reason, and with more than a week until the next game, the Patriots do not need to declare a state of emergency.

Gronk would be better

If the Patriots are set to risk injury to one of their important offensive players for the sake of doing something fun and novel at the quarterback position, they might as well use their best athlete.

If we're going to get weird, we might as well go all-in.

I’ve seen Edelman throw — he doesn’t have the stuff. You can’t tell me Gronk can’t throw a nice 20-yard out — no one knows and I choose to believe he can.

Gronk would look awesome as a quarterback. You know how Cam Newton towers at the position. Imagine an extra inch or two and 25 extra pounds back there. I’d much rather see that in a pro-style set than some speed option stuff against NFL defenses.

Belichick would never risk further injuring Gronk by having him play quarterback, but we do know that the coach thinks highly of Gronk’s intellectual ability — he can handle the position:

“The tight end position is, probably after quarterback, the hardest position to play in our offense. That’s the guy who does all the formationing,” Belichick told Sports Illustrated. “Rob is a versatile athlete, but he’s also a versatile guy mentally. He can handle a lot of different assignments. Some guys can’t… That’s not the case with Rob.”

Jamie Collins, the Patriots' otherworldly middle linebacker who was a quarterback in high school, would be a good choice too, but you have to choose Gronk. That understanding of the offense, with that physical ability, with Gronk’s childlike enthusiasm for playing? It’s a shame it’s not going to happen, but at least we know the reasons why.