The New England Patriots have been banged up on offense with a long injury report an–as the local media on sports talk radio has made very clear–it has shown with their production on the field. Winless, with no healthy wide receivers, limited production from the tight end group, key injuries on the offensive line and simply unable to move the football and score points, the Patriots are 0-6 and last in the NFL in scoring.
Wait, that’s not correct?
Oh, the New England Patriots are 6-0?
Also, they are first in the NFL in scoring with 190 points scored over six games (31.7 points per game)? Injuries have been a problem, sure, but this is not a bad offense regardless of what the talking heads want to get the fan base fired up about.
|3||New York Jets||30||14||21||381||313||68||2|
|6||New York Giants||35||14||27||427||313||114||2|
OK, rant over. On to the injury report this week.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
On offense, the Patriots have four wide receivers on the injury report. First and foremost, Josh Gordon has been ruled out for the Monday night match-up against the New York Jets.
Julian Edelman, who has played through his chest/rib injury that caused him to leave the week three match-up against the Jets. He came back and played 95% of the snaps in week four against the Bills but was clearly limited and had just four catches for 30 yards on seven targets. He bounced back with two consecutive 100 yard receiving games and should be in good shape with an extended break after the Thursday night game.
Punt returned Gunner Olszewski was a new addition to the injury list on Saturday with a hamstring injury. Olszewski, who had a fumble returned for a touchdown against the Jets in week three, was forced into the line-up last week for the entire second half. The former Bemidji State receiver came into the game with 14 career NFL offensive snaps and played 50 on Thursday snagging his first two receptions.
Olszewski’s hamstring injury is one to watch as it affects depth on offense as well as on special teams as he handles the punt return duties. The last thing the New England Patriots would want on Monday night is having Julian Edelman back to catch punts with an entire Jets special teams unit tearing downfield towards him.
The Patriots signed two new tight ends to add to the roster. It was necessary as both Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo have been ruled out for Monday night. LaCosse was expected to be a major contributor on offense but injuries have limited him all season. Second-year tight end Ryan Izzo joined the injury report this week with a concussion.
There is good news on offense with injuries as versatile wide receiver Phillip Dorsett is trending towards playing. Dorsett had 13 catches and three touchdowns through three weeks and then was hurt in the first quarter of the week five game versus Washington and missed most of that game and the Giants game.
More bad news with another game missed for running back Rex Burkhead. Burkhead was very efficient running the ball with 24 carries for 112 yards (4.7 yards per rush) while adding 13 receptions out of the backfield before being injured in week four against the Buffalo Bills after one catch. He missed most of that game and the next two (now three).
Back to the good news, first round draft pick wide receiver N’Keal Harry (injured reserve designated to return) is practicing and eligible to return week nine against Baltimore.
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Also, left tackle Marshall Newhouse–who was dinged-up earlier in the season–and the rest of the offensive line are not on the injured list and presumably healthy. After having already placed left tackle Isaiah Wynn and center David Andrews on injured reserve, the lack of any offensive linemen on the injury report is a huge positive for the offense.
On defense, the Patriots have just one player on the injury report.
Safety Patrick Chung was on the injury report heading into the Washington game and did not suit up. He returned against the Giants but played just eight snaps before exiting. If he is limited or cannot play, expect more two safety looks with Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon and veteran Terrence Brooks (who has played primarily on special teams) to take a larger role in three safety looks.
Defensive end Michael Bennett is healthy but is suspended for the game this week. Dont’a Hightower is healthy along with the rest of the front seven. Special teams ace and safety Nate Ebner was limited with a groin injury last week but has been removed from the injury list.
NEW YORK JETS
The New York Jets are 1-4 and head coach Adam Gase is not having the start to the season he expected. Losing starting quarterback Sam Darnold to mono was a big loss, but he returned last week and lit-up the Dallas Cowboys depleted defense as the Jets escaped with a 24-22 win.
The Jets injury report is overflowing with key contributors. Pro Bowl special teamer Albert McClellan has already been ruled out for Monday night. They have six players listed as doubtful.
Right guard Kelechi Osemele is not going to play as he has been in a very public dispute with the team regarding his shoulder injury. He wants to have surgery and the team wants him back on the field. This could get very ugly and wind up with the league and the player’s association fighting it out as the Jets fined him this weekend for “conduct detrimental to the team”.
Osemele is joined by former Steelers’ left tackle Kelvin Beachum who has not practiced due to an ankle injury that knocked him out of the Cowboys game. Osemele’s back-up at guard, Alex Lewis, is on the injury report as questionable and limited in practice with a neck injury. Starting center Ryan Kalil is listed as questionable (but did not practice this week) with a shoulder injury.
Starting guard Brian Winters is listed on the injury report with shoulder and knee injuries and as questionable. However, Winters is one of the toughest, most dependable and grittiest players in the league and has not missed a snap this season and is not expected to miss any Monday night. He has played all 1,308 snaps in the past 21 straight games for the Jets after ending 2017 on injured reserve.
A depleted offensive line forced to have blockers at less than 100% or back-ups such as Brandon Shell (already benched this season at right tackle for rookie Chuma Edoga), Jonotthan Harrison or journeyman Tom Compton could be a problem for the New York offense. Without time to throw and holes to run through, it could be a long game versus the smart, strong and aggressive Patriots’ defense.
The Jets are also more than likely to be without tight end Chris Herndon. Herndon was suspended the first four games of the season and has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since returning. He has not practiced this week. He was a weapon on offense last season and his absence has hurt the Jets.
A familiar face, Demaryius Thomas, is on the injury report with a hamstring injury as well. He is expected to play. He took some shots at Bill Belichick earlier this week in the media and the New England secondary may want to shut him down and shut him up. Special teamer and backup running back Trenton Cannon is likely out with a foot injury.
On defense, the New York Jets are likely to be without two key pass rushers: defensive end Henry Anderson and edge rusher Neville Hewitt are both doubtful with shoulder injuries. Anderson was injured early in the week four loss to Philadelphia. Hewitt, an undrafted free agent out of Marshall who joined the Jets last season after three seasons in Miami, had played 99% of the defensive snaps before being injured late versus Dallas.
Also injured is nose tackle and run-stuffer Steve McLendon. He is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury and been limited in practice. The Jets may be forced to play rookie Blake Cashman, Harvey Langi, or Brandon Copeland more at linebacker and Bronson Kaufusi, Kyle Phillips and Folorunso Fatukasi on the defensive line.
The big news on defense for the Jets is the anticipated return of inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. He was brought in on a record-setting deal as a free agent from Baltimore to be the quarterback of the defense and the four-time Pro Bowl player went down in week one against Buffalo. He returned to practice this week and has said he will play Monday.
In the secondary, the Jets are healthy other than former Patriots seventh-round draft pick Darryl Roberts and Nate Hairston at cornerback. Roberts is questionable with an ankle injury and Hairston is listed as questionable and limited with a knee injury. Hairston started in weeks two and three and has been out since week four. He had replaced Trumaine Johnson in the starting line-up after the high priced free agent signing continued his poor play in New York for a second consecutive year.
Johnson, Roberts and Hairston catch a break with Josh Gordon out, but Phillip Dorsett and Jakobi Meyers may have the advantage on Monday night with this group banged-up for the Jets.
-Hal Bent is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @halbent01