Chandler Jones will reportedly miss a month with a hip injury. (USA TODAY Images)
Last season saw the Patriots lose quite a few high profile players to injury, making a complete mess of things on both sides of the football as they battled to stay in the playoff hunt before eventually getting knocked out of the AFC Championship Game in Denver.
At the time it seemed like a really bad anomaly that would hopefully never happen again. ¬†Losing the likes of Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Tommy Kelly set their defense back badly over the course of the remainder of the season as they worked each week to compensate for each player that went down.
Heading into the 2014 season most hoped they wouldn’t ever have to deal with those types of losses this time around.
Unfortunately, their luck is beginning to take a turn for the worse.
Despite the celebration that took place following Chris Jones’ block of Jets kicker Nick Folk’s field goal, there was one player who wasn’t jumping for joy after New England blocked the Jets’ game-winning field goal attempt. ¬†Defensive end¬†Chandler Jones reportedly suffered a hip injury somewhere around the end of the game and was spotted walking off the field fairly gingerly instead of celebrating with his teammates.
According to the Boston Globe,¬†Whatever happened will now reportedly keep him ‘about a month’, which now has New England trying to come up with a contingency plan to deal with his absence. ¬†The newspaper reports that the team will sign free agent defensive end Alan Branch in an effort to add depth on the defensive line.
This marks the second straight week New England has lost a significant player on defense, having lost Mayo for the second time in as many seasons to a season-ending injury in Week 6. ¬†Losing Jones removes a high-energy personality and a player who has been a difference-maker this season, making key plays in some key moments, including his blocked field goal and subsequent return for a touchdown against the Vikings in Week 2.
Overall he has 4.5 sacks as well as a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
The signing of Branch seems to have a lot of upside if he’s ready to turn things around. ¬†He’s coming off of a DUI arrest that lead to his release from the Bills¬†this summer back on August 24th, 2014.
Fortunately Jones will seemingly be back at some point this season. ¬†But his loss, along with Mayo and running back Stevan Ridley, has been a strong reminder of just how quickly things can change. ¬†Hopefully this will be the last hit they’ll have to suffer for a while because this is a group that struggled enough as it was against New York. ¬†
It’s another tough blow to a team that has already battled with enough setbacks after a rough start. One would have to think losing Jones isn’t going to help make things any easier for Bill Belichick to fix their problems as they continue preparing for the Bears this week.