The New England Patriots enter week two of the 2019 NFL season with another light injury report. With just three players listed as limited on their initial injury report on Wednesday and the same three as questionable by the end of the week, New England should be fairly close to full strength as they head to Miami to face the Dolphins on Sunday afternoon.
Once again there is a familiar face on the injury report listed as questionable as free agent acquisition tight end Matt LaCosse is on for a second consecutive week. LaCosse was expected to be a major contributor on offense but he sprained his ankle in the first preseason game and missed the rest of the preseason. With only second-year tight end Ryan Izzo on the roster, LaCosse was active Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers but only for emergencies as he did not play a single snap.
Help does not appear on the way for the tight end position. The Patriots are missing a tight end already due to a suspension. Veteran Ben Watson started the season suspended for four weeks and is not on the 53-man roster. Watson will be out until week five and expected contributor Lance Kendricks was eligible to return in week two but was released to make room for wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Certainly, the Patriots had more than a few major injuries to overcome heading into the season. On offense, first round draft pick wide receiver N’Keal Harry (injured reserve designated to return) and free agent wide receiver Cameron Meredith (PUP list) are out until October/November.
Another pair of rookies on the offensive line are out with guard Hjalte Froholdt–who was playing almost entire preseason games being force-fed snaps in an effort to get him up to NFL speed–injured his shoulder in the final preseason game and is out for the season. Rookie tackle Yodny Cajuste has been out all of the preseason with a quadriceps injury and is on the non-football injury (NFI) list. When and if he returns in 2019 is unknown.
The loss of starting center David Andrews is the biggest loss and leaves a gaping hole in the middle of the offensive line. He is on injured reserve and is out for the season due to blood clots in his lungs. Andrews is taking medication and will receive treatment for blood clots and New England hopes he can return in 2020. Back-up Ted Karras played extremely well against the Steelers in Andrews’ place on Sunday night.
With such a loss, there is another hole on the offensive line as starting right tackle Marcus Cannon is listed as questionable after leaving the week one win over Pittsburgh late in the game with a shoulder injury. New England shuffled the line with Jermaine Eluemunor taking over at left guard and Joe Thuney sliding over to right tackle.
New England signed free agent tackle Marshall Newhouse this week for additional depth at tackle with Cannon likely out a week or two. The Patriots had tackle Korey Cunningham inactive on Sunday so their depth was limited. Whether Cunningham or Newhouse takes over if Cannon cannot go is something to watch.
The final player on the injury report is running back/special teams ace Brandon Bolden. Bolden was on the field for a single snap in week one on offense. However, he played 16 snaps on special teams. IF he is unable to go due to a hamstring injury, the special teams units will take a hit.
On defense, the Patriots lost young defensive backs Malik Gant and D’Angelo Ross to injury in the preseason both are on injured reserve and will fight for a roster spot next year after both opened eyes with impressive play at training camp. Special teams ace Brandon King tore his left quadriceps in the preseason and is out for the year.
On the defensive line, the Patriots lost young pass rushers Keionta Davis and Derek Rivers. Both players are out for the season and may have lost their last chance to stick in New England. With their injuries unknown, the possibility of either being released with an injury settlement remains.
On defense, the Patriots are completely healthy. Expect the unit to shuffle in players particularly on the defensive line. Up front it was rookie Chase Winovich leading the way with playing time with 38 snaps. Veteran Michael Bennett got 45% of the snaps off playing just 37 snaps.
The Patriots get linebacker Kyle Van Noy back for the match-up versus Miami. Van Noy was not injured last week, but missed the game with his wife in labor and giving birth that night. Adding him adds yet another versatile and productive piece to the front seven.
Miami has a number of injury concerns going into their week two match-up against the Patriots. Starting tackle Julien Davenport (acquired from Houston) was placed on injured reserve this week, weakening an already vulnerable offensive line. Additionally, playmaking wide receiver Albert Wilson has already been ruled out. Center Daniel Kilgore is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury but is expected to play providing some stability on the offensive line.
On defense, safety Reshad Jones has also been ruled out with an ankle injury. Two Harrises are on the injury report with linebacker Trent Harris (a former Patriot) questionable with a foot injury and former high draft pick and one of their few pass rushers Charles Harris questionable with a wrist injury.
Finally, the secondary is also possibly missing cornerback Bobby McCain who is questionable with a shoulder injury. For a team that got beat-up on the scoreboard in week one versus Baltimore, the Dolphins’ home opener has a number of players who may not play in a tough week two game against the defending Super Bowl champions.
-Hal Bent is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @halbent01