The Patriots released their final injury report prior to their week 5 matchup with the New York Jets today and there were four listed as doubtful; Julian Edelman (ankle), Jerod Mayo (Knee), Danny Woodhead (ankle) and Sebastian Vollmer (back). All have failed to¬†participate¬†in practice this week, therefore it is unlikely any will see the field on Sunday.
With Edelman injured, it is likely Taylor Price, who fully participated in practice for the first time this week and is off of the injury report, will see his first roles of the 2011 season with the team. Woodhead’s absence leaves an¬†opportunity¬†for Shane Vereen to potentially show what he is capable of as many see him as the 3rd down back of the future.
Mayo’s absence may lead to Gary Guyton taking the green dot (ie: the play calling role for the defense) but it is unclear yet as to how Belichick plans to tackle the loss of the defensive playcaller. Dane Fletcher, who is now¬†listed¬†as probable, may well also see extra snaps as a result of this; he participated fully for the first time this week as well.
Most worryingly is the presence of three members of the secondary listed as Questionable;¬†Leigh Bodden (Groin), Ras-I Dowling (Hip)¬†and Josh Barrett (thumb/hamstring), who were all on the list. The team could survive with two of these backs and I think we could settle for either Bodden or Dowling, who has shown the Patriots he could have been a very valuable pickup if he stays healthy, but we definitely need Barrett on the field. Sergio Brown is arguably the worst player on the defense and is becoming more of a liability than Brandon Merriweather was (I can’t believe I’m saying that). The more snaps Brown gets, the worst position this secondary is in.
Thankfully, Kyle Arrington (who leads the team in interceptions) was not seen on the final injury report which is a small piece of good news for a struggling and battered secondary unit. Another worry was Guyton, who could potentially take over play calling responsibilities on the defense in Mayo’s absence as stated¬†above, and he appears to have gotten over his hamstring issues.
Other full participants, who are now listed as probable, were safety Patrick Chung (thumb) and defensive lineman Shaun Ellis (knee). Chung adds that leadership he brings to the secondary while Ellis adds depth to a defensive line which was drawing some concern over its health also.
Mike Wright may be ready to return, but it’s a dangerous thing to put him back in the line-up if he’s not ready. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
Defensive Linemen Mike Wright (concussion) and Kyle Love (ankle) are both Questionable and saw limited participation in practice. If either one could make it back it would result in much welcomed depth to the unit who are set to go up against a struggling Jets offensive line. Keeping our players fresh and rotating them in is integral to our success in this match-up. Personally I feel Wright will not play; questionable with a concussion is a very dangerous thing to send a player back in early with so I expect him to be rested until he is able to fully participate in practice.
The final two listed as Questionable are the two biggest names; Aaron Hernandez (knee) and Albert Haynesworth (back). If Hernandez could make it back into the lineup it would throw a huge spanner in the works for the Jets and add another much needed weapon to Brady’s arsenal. Haynesworth’s return would be much welcomed against a Jets offensive line which hasn’t generated any run game or protected Sanchez and could be the game where he makes his first mark as a Patriot. Both will be game-time¬†decisions¬†as will the majority of those who are Questionable.
In summary, this is a worryingly long list and the Patriots are incredibly banged up early on in the season. With Dallas still to play before the bye week, I don’t expect to see Belichick rushing players back unnecessarily. The four listed as doubtful will not play. I would expect Wright to be rested for one more week, leaving two more inactive spots to fill. One member of the secondary and a defensive lineman would be a good shout in my opinion.
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