Hogan, who missed seven of the final eight games of the regular season due to a shoulder injury, was removed from the injury report for the first time since Oct. 29. His return not only adds depth to the Patriots wide receiver depth chart, but Brady is getting one of his top targets back, which makes his passing attack that much more difficult to defend.
With Gronkowski and Cooks on the field, Hogan should draw single coverage. Let’s not forget that before he went down with his shoulder injury, the former Lacrosse player was on pace for a career season. During his first eight games, he caught 33 passes for 438 yards and five touchdowns.
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Hogan became key in the Patriots’ offense with the loss of Julian Edelman prior to the 2017 season. With an increased role, he produced and the type of production he could provide should definitely help a Tom Brady led crew that have struggled a bit towards the end of the season.
Given how Chris Hogan performed during last year’s playoff run, including a 180-yard receiving performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, his experience contributing during big moments should factor in on what he gives the offense this time around.
The New England Patriots will enter Saturday night’s matchup the healthiest they have been all season.
Not only is Chris Hogan, Kyle Van Noy, Rex Burkhead and Alan Branch likely to go in the AFC Divisional Round matchup, but Mike Gillislee, Malcolm Mitchell and Marquis Flowers all returned to practice on Thursday.
The player to watch here is Mitchell. The second-year wide receiver has missed the entire regular season due to a knee injury. If he is to make his 2017 debut on Saturday, the team would need to activate him to the 53-man roster by Friday afternoon.
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