By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
On Sunday in Houston, Bill Belichick opted for veteran Donte Moncrief over trade addition Isaiah Ford at the end of the wide receiver depth chart. Neither one likely would’ve made a difference in the game getting more opportunities. But Belichick shed some light on his plans for that group moving forward in his newest press conference.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Belichick acknowledged that the end of the Patriots receiver depth chart will likely depend on the gameplan and matchup week-to-week. Prior weeks don’t necessarily sound like much of a factor in the receivers’ workloads.
“Right, yeah, we’ll continue to work Isaiah [Ford], Moncrief, all the receivers and we’ll just have to go based on which player is the most ready and the most ready to help us that particular week and see who can take advantage of the opportunities – who can earn the opportunities and then take advantage of them in the game,” Belichick said.
Ford was inactive on Sunday at the Texans after being active, but playing zero offensive snaps, against the Ravens in Foxboro. Moncrief, meanwhile, leapfrogged Ford into the active lineup after signing with the Patriots days after the trade deadline. The veteran played four total offensive snaps against the Texans and caught one of two targets for 15 yards, a key play to pick up a first down at the time.
Julian Edelman remains on injured reserve despite being past the three-week minimum timetable to be eligible for activation. Jakobi Meyers has seized the top role at receiver in Edelman’s absence, playing every offensive snap (excluding kneeldowns) in the past two weeks. Damiere Byrd has played 81.9 percent of offensive snaps over the past two weeks and is coming off his most productive game of the season, catching six of seven targets for 132 yards and a touchdown and adding an end-around for 11 yards.
N’Keal Harry returned to the lineup against Baltimore, but didn’t see a target until Sunday in Houston. He made five catches for 41 yards, his first production as a pass-catcher since Week 7.
While the Patriots’ path to the playoffs is virtually closed, even mathematically, that only means there will be an increased focus on the future. Harry (22 years old) and Meyers (24) are still only in their second seasons, while Ford (24) has an opportunity in front of him amid injuries at the position.
Belichick and the Patriots have some time to figure out what kind of future they have on the receiver depth chart. The next six games will be an interesting testing ground.
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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at firstname.lastname@example.org.