By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Do the Patriots need high-end talent on offense, or just guys that Tom Brady can trust?
It wouldn't hurt to have both, but Brady definitely got someone in the latter category on the field on Monday night at the Jets. Ben Watson provided more of a spark at the tight end position than the Pats have had all season in their 33-0 win, and you can couple that with another encouraging performance from rookie wide receiver Jakobi Meyers.
The night didn't start so hot for Watson, who took a football right off the facemask as he wasn't ready for Brady's first target his way. But the tight end rebounded from there and caught three of his next four targets for 18 yards. One of his catches converted a third-and-5, while another converted on a fourth-and-6.
Perhaps more encouraging is that Watson blocked better than Ryan Izzo had all season. Watson will never be an elite blocker, but he could represent a marked upgrade over the struggling Izzo in that department. He chipped the Jets' Neville Hewitt just enough to help left tackle Marshall Newhouse and buy Brady enough time to make easily his best throw of the night, a 26-yard dime to Phillip Dorsett for a touchdown that put the Patriots up 17-0 in the first quarter.
Meyers, meanwhile, caught all five of his targets for 47 yards. The undrafted rookie out of N.C. State continues to inch his way into Brady's vaunted "Circle of Trust". Brady targeted Meyers three times on third down, converting on third-and-7 once and drawing penalties on the other two.
"He’s done a great job taking advantage of his opportunity," said Brady in his postgame press conference. "I’ll keep throwing it to him. He does a good job of getting open. I’ll just keep trying to go to the open guy."
The Patriots still have work to do on offense, particularly with their run-blocking and pass protection up front. They may ultimately need to look outside the organization for another tackle, blocking tight end, and perhaps even a fullback. Unless they want to rotate new acquisition Eric Tomlinson with linebacker Elandon Roberts and center James Ferentz in that role, like they did on Monday night.
But when Brady got time to throw, he found Watson and Meyers a promising amount of times. It bodes well for Brady's ability to push the ball down the field moving forward - if they can protect him.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].