Pats can succeed sans Hernandez

Release of tight end shouldn't impair offensive production

Originally Published: June 26, 2013
By Aaron Schatz | Football Outsiders

Aaron HernandezAP Photo/Michael DwyerThe Patriots' offense will have to make do without Aaron Hernandez.

The NFL is a copycat league, and over the past couple of years, the offense everyone has tried to copy is the two-tight end scheme of the New England Patriots. Unfortunately, the Patriots won't be able to field those schemes in the same way this season. They already knew that they were likely to be without Rob Gronkowski for at least part of the season because of lingering injuries and offseason back surgery. But they now know they definitely will be without Aaron Hernandez for this season.

In the real world, the big story is obviously Hernandez's murder trial. But in the sports world, one big question is how the release of Hernandez will hurt the Patriots' offense. The answer: probably less than you expect.


To read more about how the Patriots' offense will look without Aaron Hernandez (and potentially Rob Gronkowski for some time), plus to get access to all of our NFL coverage, sign up for ESPN Insider.