Tight end went from a strength to a potential killer for the New England Patriots with one slap of the handcuffs. In a make-or-break season could they look to plug the gap by dealing Detroit Lions veteran Tony Scheffler?
Aaron Hernandez has left Tom Brady and Patriots vulnerable
News about Rob Gronkowski having two surgeries in the same off-season was enough for the Patriots and their fans. So when the other shoe dropped about Aaron Hernandez possibly killing a man in cold blood, things officially went from bad to cataclysmic. Teams around the league already sense a normally steady and efficient Patriots team suspended in doubt. In the span of a few months Tom Brady has lost his three best pass targets with receiver Wes Welker leaving for Denver. Even the best teams can't replace that many key players at once. The depth at tight end isn't very encouraging, leaving the hopes of maintaining their offensive dominance on Gronkowski returning healthy. Based on recent trends that is not something to count on. Since it's too late to think about the draft or free agency, their last remaining hope before the season is the trade market. Are there any names to consider?
Michael Williams could push Scheffler to flank Brandon Pettigrew
One that hasn't come up for discussion yet but is a person to watch is Tony Scheffler. The veteran has spent the past three seasons with the Detroit Lions, serving as an able backup to starter Brandon Pettigrew. Last year was his best season for them to date, posting 504 receiving yards on 42 catches. Yet after a 4-12 record it's clear change is coming. Detroit may have plans for a slight shift in offensive philosophy that calls for more pass protection from the tight end position. That is why a lot of attention is centered on seventh round draft pick Michael Williams. While by no means a receiving threat, his blocking ability has coaches excited. If he pulls through in training camp and preseason, then Scheffler could see his already limited playing time reduced even more. That usually creates a perfect atmosphere for a trade.
Desperation isn't quite where the New England Patriots are. At least not yet. They want to wait and see what they have post Aaron Hernandez. If it turns out as bad as some expect, then Tony Scheffler could get some phone calls real soon.
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