With what’s essentially another pivotal game for the New England Patriots as they look to get back to .500 this weekend, it looks like they’re going to be without a couple of key names on both sides of the football.
The club announced that both offensive lineman Cole Strange and defensive back Jonathan Jones were both downgraded to “Out” for tomorrow’s contest in Dallas, which is certainly disappointing.
For Strange, his status prevents the Patriots from finally having some continuity on their offensive line. Strange, who has been limited with a “knee” injury this week, has been on the club’s injury report since the beginning of the season but had played the previous two games. After missing the opener, he played 100% of the snaps against Miami, along with 61% last Sunday against the Jets before apparently reaggravating it.
Had he been able to start in Dallas, it would have marked the second-straight week that the team had four of its five starters from last year back together up front. Last week saw New England have its best week so far this season running the football, totaling 157 yards on 40 carries on the ground at MetLife Stadium against the Jets.
Instead, that potentially means an appearance by rookie Atonio Mafi, who has filled in at left guard in place of Strange both this preseason and in the opener in Miami.
Meanwhile, Jones’ absence adds further strain to a secondary that continues to have to work with a pretty thin group. With the veteran still being sidelined, along with Jack Jones currently on injured reserve, the team has had to rely a bit more on Myles Bryant, who has been good in spots but has still made some mistakes in key moments, including last week late in the fourth quarter where he committed a big pass interference penalty on a 3rd-and-9 at the Patriots 9-yard line.
That gave the Jets a new set of downs, and it led to a 1-yard run by fullback Nick Bawden, which cut New England’s lead to 13-10 with 5:24 left to go in the game.
The one positive is that they’ve already had to live without both of these players in spots this season, so it won’t be overly unusual to have them. But not having Strange will be something to watch in Dallas as the Patriots have had their best rushing performances with him in the line-up.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Cole Strange Jonathan Jones Patriots injuries