New England Patriots: How Chris Hogan can solve team’s slot problem

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Chris Hogan
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Chris Hogan /

Without Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola out due to injury, it’s Chris Hogan’s time to shine in the New England Patriots offense.

It’s time for that breakout season many predicted for Chris Hogan to start in Week 2.  After an underwhelming game against the Kanas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots wide receiver needs to rediscover that timely connection with Tom Brady.

With just one catch for eight yards, Hogan did not look like the receiver he was in his debut season with the Patriots.  He was not able to gain separation and never gained chemistry with Brady during that game.

Part of that could’ve been the game plan as Danny Amendola played the slot position.  Up until he left the game with a head injury, Amendola was Brady’s go-to receiver.  Now with Amendola out Week 2 and possibly beyond, Hogan really has to become that primary receiver Brady can depend on, particularly in the slot position.

HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady /

Following Week 1, Hogan said the offense doesn’t need to change their approach.  Heading into Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints, he will have to prove exactly that and it starts with his comfort lining up in the slot.

Related Story: How Chris Hogan will emerge as Brady’s top weapon

"“I’m comfortable there, for sure, and confident there as well,” Hogan told CSN’s Phil Perry Saturday.  “The biggest difference for me is some of the reads you have to make at the line of scrimmage and once you release.  I have to see what Tom [Brady] sees.”"

The slot game

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Chris Hogan is not as quick as Edelman nor Amendola, so he has to make it up what they could do in the slot with his speed, size and cerebral energy.

By cerebral energy, I mean he really has to have a determination to get open in small spaces.  He has to know where the ball is going and get there by outsmarting the defender.  Easier said than done, but that ability is what made players like Wes Welker and Edelman so dangerous in this offense.

It’s a challenge, but one Hogan is up for.  He knows the offense’s success this season suddenly starts with him.

"“Tom demands a lot.  He’s our leader,” Hogan continued.  But I expect as much out of myself as anyone else could.  I know I have to be better.  If I’m better, it helps everyone.”"

Going up against a less than stellar defense this week, Chris Hogan and the Patriots’ offense will have a chance to find its effectiveness.  With only three healthy receivers, there will be a small margin for error or injury.

Next: Behind enemy lines with the New Orleans Saints

However, this should be a big game for Hogan to shine and I predict he will.