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FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots looks to hand off to Rex Burkhead #34 during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

Welcome to Week 2 of the Patriots Mailbag! Now that we got all of the season preview stuff out of the way, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of a fascinating matchup between new-look New England Patriots and their 21st century rival, the Seattle Seahawks.

A couple of you asked how the Patriots will contain Russell Wilson, which is the biggest key to winning the game, so let’s start there…

I do think the Patriots will try to ease Kyle Dugger (and all of the rookies, for that matter) in throughout the season, but this is the kind of game you draft a guy like Dugger for. They have a big, strong wide receiver, a good tight end, and a mobile quarterback – three things he can help neutralize. While I don’t think he’ll be on the field for the majority of the game, I am expecting an increase in his snap count after he played 11 in Week 1.

As for the second part of your question, expect the Patriots to rotate who is in the spy role to keep Wilson off guard. Dugger could certainly be a part of that when he’s on the field, but I imagine the bulk of that responsibility would fall to Adrian Phillips and Terrence Brooks.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13: Kyle Dugger #35 of the New England Patriots warms up before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 13: Kyle Dugger #35 of the New England Patriots warms up before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

I don’t know what Uche’s health situation is, but he was listed on the injury report on Thursday. That’s not to say it’s time to rule him out for Sunday night just yet, but it’s something to monitor. As opposed to last week when it benefited the Patriots to be bigger up front, this week speed is key so I’d think they’ll have him available if he’s healthy.

Josh Uche at Patriots training camp. Photo courtesy of the New England Patriots.

I’d expect plenty of play action this week, and all season. Josh McDaniels had play action on just over 50 percent of his passing calls last week. If the running game continues to be as efficient as it was in Week 1, the play action passing attack can function as a powerful weapon for the Patriots. Not only do they have last year’s league leader in crossing routes in Julian Edelman, but it also makes it easier for Cam Newton to break contain and tuck and run if he sees the opportunity.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 13: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots hands off to Rex Burkhead #34 during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

I don’t know if Stidham has regressed as much as people’s opinions of him were too high to begin with. How many other fourth-round picks have been tabbed as heir apparents or franchise saviors or whatever before starting a single game? Almost none. Compound that with the fact the Patriots are now running an offense that does not fit Stidham’s strengths, and a more experienced quarterback competing against him, and it’s understandable that things don’t look great for him right now. He’s only 24 years old, so that call all change, but 2020 isn’t the year of Stid the Kid.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 17: Jarrett Stidham #4 of the New England Patriots throws a pass during training camp at Gillette Stadium on August 17, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images)

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 17: Jarrett Stidham #4 of the New England Patriots throws a pass during training camp at Gillette Stadium on August 17, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images)

I’m wrong (I’m not really wrong) because I know ‘best’ and ‘most productive’ aren’t necessarily the same thing. Welker put up astronomical numbers during his run in New England, and of course that takes a ton of skill. But who was the best at the position? Well it’d have to be the second-best wide receiver of all time, Randy Gene Moss. The guy simply did things nobody had done before, or had done since. It’s unfair a guy that big could be that strong yet so nimble at the same time. It’d also be unfair to leave out Stanley Morgan. The franchise leader in most major career receiving categories before the Belichick era, he also has the most yards per reception in NFL history (19.2) among receivers with at least 500 catches.

FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 09: Randy Moss #81 of the New England Patriots reacts as he walks by Anthony Smith #27 of the Pittsburgh Steelers after a penalty was called in the third quarter on December 9, 2007 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 34-13. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

I don’t think the Patriots are looking to trade for a receiver. Their plan seems to be getting in position to be major players in the 2021 offseason, which means having as much cap space and draft capital as possible. Don’t get me wrong, if somebody falls into their lap for a day three pick they wouldn’t say no, but they don’t seem to be in a spot where they’d part with high picks for a guy who they’re going to need to pay a significant amount of money. Plus, if guys like Odell Beckham and Allen Robinson are available now, there’s a high chance they’ll also be available in the spring, when the team has a much better idea of what the long-term plans look like.

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 17: Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the Cleveland Browns runs against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 17, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

For more on Patriots-Seahawks and any potential movement at wide receiver, check out this week’s Patriots Preview podcast:

Click here for 98.5 The Sports Hub’s complete coverage of the Patriots.

Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.