FOXBORO -- Jordan Matthews had an opportunity with the Patriots. He landed on a roster this offseason that lost Danny Amendola. It's a roster that will be without Julian Edelman for the first four weeks of the season because of a suspension.
For a team that has a need for an inside receiver, Matthews, who has plenty of experience in the slot, seemed like a logical fit.
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But after injuring his hamstring over the weekend, the Patriots have decided to try to fill that need elsewhere. The Patriots have placed Matthews on injured reserve. The team acquired fullback Henry Poggi, an undrafted rookie out of Michigan, to fill Matthews' spot on the 90-man roster. Poggi participated in Wednesday's practice.
With Matthews no longer in the mix, the Patriots are even thinner at receiver. Kenny Britt and Matthew Slater remain on the physically unable to perform list, and Malcolm Mitchell has yet to practice. Among the available receivers for Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots offense are Edelman, Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Riley McCarron, Braxton Berrios, Devin Lucien and Paul Turner.
Knowing Edelman will be out in September makes the long-term picture at receiver more tenuous for the Patriots. Both Hogan and Dorsett have some positional versatility, as does Turner. McCarron and Berrios are more traditional slots, and with the injuries piling up recently, McCarron has received some first-team reps of late.
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The Patriots could sign a free-agent wideout like Eric Decker, who was brought in to work out on Tuesday, but they haven't made a move to bolster the receiver room just yet. Until they do, Bill Belichick and his staff may have to adjust their practice schedule to ensure that they aren't overworking the players available from a banged-up position group.
"That’s always a part of training camp -- management," Belichick said Wednesday. "Some positions are deeper than others. That can fluctuate from day-to-day, week-to-week in camp. So, sometimes that barometer goes up and down -- not always predictable. So, yeah, it’s a part of training camp.
"We consider that when we go through our practice schedule, what the workloads are, take a look at the drills we’re doing and how many guys we have to do them and so forth, particularly when the lines don’t match up.
"If you have an imbalance of offensive linemen versus defensive linemen or receivers versus defensive backs or tight ends versus linebackers, however that goes, then that makes it a little bit more challenging because the guys that have the numbers need the work and players that are the position that doesn’t have the numbers -- you have a hard time giving enough work to the guys where there’s depth. So, yeah, that’s always a daily discussion in our practice schedule and planning and the player workloads that they have."