Patriots

Patriots injury report Week 7: Two tight ends, three receivers headline list

Patriots injury report Week 7: Two tight ends, three receivers headline list

The New England Patriots week seven injury report is full of offensive players, and it's not looking good. 

New England has struggled offensively over it's past few games, and now a number of their offensive players have hit the injury report. Two tight ends and three wide receivers headline this week's report ahead of Monday night's matchup with the New York Jets. Most notably, receiver Josh Gordon did not participate in practice Friday due to a knee/ankle injury, while tight end's Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse were added to the injury report with a concussion and knee injury respectively. The only tight ends to practice for New England on Friday were Ben Watson and newly acquired Eric Tomlinson.

While New England's list of injuries isn't as long as New York's 25-man injury report, the Jets may be getting back some of their stars Monday night -- most notably 2019 third overall pick Quinnen Williams, who was a full participant in practice. Sam Darnold will also be back under center for New York after missing the first Patriots/Jets clash due to mononucleosis. 

Here's the Week 7 full injury report:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Josh Gordon, Knee/Ankle
TE Ryan Izzo, Concussion
TE Matt LaCosse, Knee

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
RB Rex Burkhead, Foot
S Patrick Chung, Heel/Chest
WR Phillip Dorsett, Hamstring
WR Julian Edelman, Chest

FULL PARTICIPATION
No Players Listed.

NEW YORK JETS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
DE Henry Anderson, Shoulder
OL Kelvin Beachum, Ankle
RB Trenton Cannon, Foot/Ankle
TE Christopher Herndon, Hamstring
LB Neville Hewitt, Neck/Knee
LB Albert McClellan, Concussion
OL Alex Lewis, Neck
S Rontez Miles, Not Injury Related
G Kelechi Osemele, Shoulder
CB Darryl Roberts, Ankle

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
CB Nate Hairston, Knee
C Ryan Kalil, Shoulder
LB C.J. Mosley, Groin
DT Steve McLendon, Hamstring
WR Demaryius Thomas, Hamstring
G Brian Winters, Shoulder/Knee

FULL PARTICIPATION
Tarrell Bashman, Heel
WR Josh Bellamy, Shoulder
LB Blake Cashman, Ankle
LB Brandon Copeland, Thumb
S Blake Countess, Hamstring
TE Ryan Griffin, Ankle
LB Jordan Jenkins, Ankle
CB Trumaine Johnson, Thigh
DT Quinnen Williams

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Patriots Mailbag: How many snaps will N'Keal Harry play if he's out there?

Patriots Mailbag: How many snaps will N'Keal Harry play if he's out there?

The Friday Bag is back, friends. Every week I'll be answering your questions be they Patriots-related, NFL-related or otherwise. This week, the focus for many of you was -- no surprise -- N'Keal Harry. We'll start there...

I think he'll play, Jamie, but I don't think he'll see a full complement of snaps. If the Patriots choose to go up-tempo, as they did in Baltimore, he could have a hard time having a regular role. But in the Patriots locker room on Thursday it sounded like Harry would play. And they could use him. They could use him in the red zone (they're 21st, getting into the end zone at a 50 percent clip), and they could use him on the outside. This Eagles defense has been incredibly generous to outside-the-numbers wideouts in 2019.

Philly's defense is also built in such a way — running a lot of Cover 3 and Cover 1, with a single-high safety — that seam routes to big slot receivers would work. Harry played in the slot a bit in college and could be used as a contested-catch player down the middle of the field since the Patriots are without a vertical threat at the tight end position. I've said many times that I think this Patriots receiver group still needs an injection of talent. Harry has talent. And his skill set would help them exactly where they need it.

If he can't handle the communication or the mental side of things, that's obviously an issue. But Bill Belichick has told us that mentally he was on top of things even while on IR. I think we'll have an opportunity to see what Harry can do — if not exactly on a full-time basis — this weekend. Here are the debut snap-counts for rookie Patriots wideouts over the last decade: Malcolm Mitchell (Week 1, 39); Chris Harper (Week 1, 12); Kenbrell Thompkins (Week 1, 91!); Aaron Dobson (Week 2, 34); Josh Boyce (Week 1, 15); Taylor Price (Week 17, 26); Brandon Tate (Week 7, 20). Mohamed Sanu said Thursday he thinks Harry will play more in his debut than Sanu did in his. Sanu saw five snaps in Week 1 of his rookie season. Let's set the over/under for Harry snaps at 14.5. I'll take the over.

Hey, Don. They have short-area passing plays, but I don't think they're "saving" anything. We've seen these plays in the past. A lot of them deal with creating some traffic right near the goal line in order to create space in what's a pretty tight area. You'll see receiver tunnel screens in there. You'll see slant-flat route combinations in there to create a natural "rub" or "pick." They'll occasionally throw fades to the back corner, though we haven't seen much of that post-Gronk.

Perhaps that's something we'll see again whenever Harry becomes a part of the red-zone attack. The Patriots have been throwing down deep in opponent territory a little more lately, I think, because their personnel isn't really built to bulldoze at the goal line anymore. Their fullbacks are hurt. Their tight ends have been unavailable, though that may change this week if Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo can go. If they had plays that worked down there, they wouldn't hold them back. They're 28th in the league in goal-to-go passing success rate this season. 

The tight end position is one that's traditionally very difficult for young players to pick up because there are so many responsibilities between the the run game and pass game. It's really only secondary to the quarterback. (That might be part of why the Patriots haven't invested at the position in the draft and have preferred to try veteran free agents there behind Rob Gronkowski.) So the fact that T.J. Hockenson isn't lighting it up doesn't shock me. Noah Fant — the other first-round tight end — was always going to have a ways to go in the running game. I think both will be much better next year with a little more experience.

And yes, getting Wynn and Andrews back would go a long way toward solidifying the line. One issue that'll be interesting to track this offseason is what happens with Joe Thuney. He's scheduled to become a free agent and will get paid — whether he's in New England or somewhere else. If Thuney departs, that could allow the Patriots the freedom to draft a top tackle or guard next spring. If the best player available is a tackle, they could bump Wynn to left guard. If it's a guard, they could keep Wynn at tackle. 

I don't think so, Brett. What Joe Thuney has done at left guard, situated between Karras and Marshall Newhouse, has been invaluable. If you were to swap Karras and Thuney, you'd be weakening that left side. The counter to that? Pressure up the middle is what has the ability to undo the Patriots offense much more than pressure off the edge.

Brady is great at stepping up and away from edge pressure when he has room. Thuney is the team's best pass protector right now, so why not put him right in the middle. If that's what you're saying, I get it. But Karras has been fine in pass protection this year. According to Pro Football Focus, he's 11th among centers in pass-blocking efficiency. The Patriots just need to get Isaiah Wynn back, and that'll help them up front in both the run and pass games. 

Beautiful instrument. Bring it back. Thanks for the question, Steve, and thanks to everyone else who chipped in this week. Enjoy the games this weekend, friends.

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Here's how Myles Garrett suspension could impact Patriots in race for AFC's No. 1 seed

Here's how Myles Garrett suspension could impact Patriots in race for AFC's No. 1 seed

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended indefinitely by the NFL on Friday for the rest of the 2019 season (and potentially beyond), and that development could have a bit of an impact on the AFC playoff race.

The Browns still have to play the Baltimore Ravens once more this season. The two AFC North rivals will meet in Cleveland for a Week 16 matchup. The Ravens (7-2) are one game behind the New England Patriots (8-1) for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff race entering Week 11, and Cleveland could have been a tricky matchup for Baltimore.

Cleveland actually beat Baltimore earlier this season. The Browns earned a 40-25 win on the road, and the Ravens haven't lost since. The Browns defense did a very good job keeping Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in check that afternoon. Jackson threw two interceptions, fumbled once, was sacked four times and got hit six times. Garrett tallied only one tackle in this win, but he drew many double teams that gave other Browns defensive players 1-on-1 matchups to exploit.

The loss of Garrett for the upcoming Week 16 matchup should make the Ravens' challenge of protecting Jackson a lot easier. Could Cleveland still beat Baltimore without Garrett? Absolutely, but the 2017 No. 1 overall draft pick is arguably the Browns' best player. Garrett tallied 10 sacks (tied for the third-most in the league), 20 tackles and two forced fumbles in 10 games this season.

The Browns also play the Steelers again in Week 13. Pittsburgh still has a chance to squeeze into a playoff spot in the AFC, but it's now a half-game out of a wild-card berth after Thursday night's Week 11 defeat.

The Ravens already had an easier schedule than the Patriots for the remainder of the regular season, and Garrett's suspension makes Baltimore's path even less difficult. The Patriots have a tough four-game stretch beginning Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, and they have little room for error. The Ravens hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Patriots after beating the defending Super Bowl champions 37-20 in Baltimore two weeks ago.

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