By: Ian Logue
Tough break for a couple of Patriots on Wednesday, with offensive lineman Dan Koppen, and defensive lineman Myron Pryor headed to injured reserve, which effectively ends their season.
Koppen’s injury hurts a little less at this point, provided Dan Connolly can stay healthy. He’s filled in admirably so far since the veteran center went down with a broken ankle in week one, and played fairly well in Sunday’s win over San Diego.
For Pryor, his loss is significant because it hurts the Patriots defensive line rotation, which is one of the things that had made them so successful during the first game in Miami. He also looked promising in his limited time out on the field, and his loss limits their flexibility personnel-wise.
Looking further at the injury front, Jeff Howe of NESN.com reported on Wednesday that Safety Patrick Chung (hand), tight end Aaron Hernandez (knee), tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back), cornerback Kyle Arrington and defensive lineman Mike Wright (concussion) were among those players absent from practice. Vollmer started Sunday’s game against San Diego and rotated in and out at right tackle, and from most indications didn’t appear to suffer any further setbacks – so hopefully today is just a precaution. Mike Reiss reported that Wright’s chair was folded in front of his locker, which he indicated could mean he hadn’t been in the locker room today.
As for Chung, Hernandez and Arrington, they were all injured Sunday, with Chung breaking his thumb, Hernandez suffering an MCL sprain on his knee, while Arrington took a shot on the sideline but seemed fairly upbeat later that evening on Twitter.
Some more news from today:
Julian Edelman is off to a strong start in the return game for New England. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
– Dowling and Mesko at Practice: Some good news on Wednesday, with Howe also reporting that cornerback Ras-I Dowling and punter Zoltan Mesko were both seen at practice this afternoon. Dowling left Sunday’s game with an apparent right hamstring injury, while Mesko injured his knee against the Chargers. His return is the bigger surprise considering a lot of the speculation about his status, however, Howe reports Mesko was on the stationary bike while the rest of the team was going through their running warmups before resuming his typical early-practice routine.
– Practice Player Winners: Howe also reports that Quarterback Brian Hoyer, tight end Garrett Mills, linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, cornerback Antwaun Molden and offensive lineman Matt Kopa were wearing the black jerseys for being named practice players of the week. If Mills spent last week impersonating San Diego’s Antonio Gates, he must have done a great job because they completely shut him down on Sunday.
– A couple of player transactions: According to the Boston Globe, the Patriots have resigned defensive tackle Landon Cohen, and added former 49ers defensive back Phillip Adams. Cohen had been released during the final cutdowns, while Adams gives them some depth at the cornerback spot until guys begin to get a little healthier.
– Edelman off to a good start: After a good start so far in the return game, Jeff Howe of NESN points out that Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was second in the NFL with 15.3 yards per punt return last year, and eighth this season with 11.8 yards over five returns. He admitted Wednesday that he’s still got a long way to go. “It’s been all right,” Edelman said. “Obviously, we’ve got a long way to go. We haven’t done anything crazy, but our job is to give our offense decent field position to go to work.”
– Fake an injury, and you’re suspended – or worse: According to the Associated Press, the NFL sent a memo Wednesday to all 32 teams warning of fines, suspensions and loss of draft picks if the league determines players faked injuries during a game. According to the report, the NFL reminded teams of league policy that calls on coaches to discourage the practice, and that there was no specific rule on the topic. The report cites some questionable injuries by the Giants against St. Lous, but New England experienced something similar during Sunday’s game after seeing some questionable injuries during New England’s hurry-up by the Chargers. Bill Belichick addressed that topic during yesterday’s conference call.
“I think we all see, the way the game is now,” said Belichick. “There are different breaks in the game at all points in time. You can have the momentum, and positive things going in your favor, and we stop and review a play, review a score, or a play gets challenged, or a player gets injured, a beach ball rolls on to the field. It could be a dog runs out there. It could be anything. Streakers, you could have that.
“Things happen,” Belichick added. “That’s part of being focused and playing through the situation, whatever it is that comes up, you have to be able to deal with it, both sides of the ball, for and against it, on the road and home. It’s just part of the game. I think if you want to address that whole issue, that’s something that needs to go to the people who make the rules.”
– Brady honored as AFC Offensive Player of the Week: Wednesday morning the team announced that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named by the NFL as the AFC player of the Week thanks to another 400+ yard performance in their win over San Diego. However during his press conference, he deflected the credit to the guys around him that helped protect him and caught his passes.
“It’s always very flattering to be chosen. There are so many great players in the league,” said Brady. “But our offense is 11 guys. It’s not just the quarterback or the receivers. It’s everybody. It’s a collaborative effort. Everybody feeds off one another. It’s not one guy doing it. We’ve done a decent job the first two weeks, but it’s only going to get tougher from here. It always does.”