For anyone who was paying attention to the Patriots storylines over the last few months, the questions about the Patriots offensive weapons at the start of the season was a major one. Because of that, one undrafted free agent became something of a folk hero before ever playing a snap in a regular season game. Now, having played in one, the reviews are in on WR Kenbrell Thompkins and they aren’t exactly kind.
Per the Boston Globe
Not to get too down on a rookie playing in his first game, but receiver Kenbrell Thompkins was pretty awful in several areas, showing very little awareness. In addition to catching only 4 of 14 passes thrown his way, double-clutching his catches, and slipping and falling on multiple occasions, he twice wasn’t able to tap his foot down for a catch — once along the sideline, once in the back of the end zone.
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comThompkins might have looked good with without pads and in the preseason, but playing in a regular season game is a whole other matter. That the Patriots threw the ball to him 14 times last week is a pretty good indication of their expectations of his game. Just as a comparison, the Jets undrafted WR Ryan Spadola didn’t see a single target in the Jets game against the Bucs and has been talked up quite a bit as well.
We have to imagine that the Patriots won’t be throwing the ball at Thompkins as much this week, but that remains where those targets will get distributed to without Gronk, Vereen and Amendola likely to play in the game. Julian Edelman is the only other player who saw more than five targets a Bills game that saw Brady attempt 52 passes. Leon Washington might become a larger part of the gameplan, but I am almost tempted to think that the Patriots are trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes and some of their injured players who are unlikely to play, might in fact play just based out of sheer need.