FOXBORO -- If the Patriots typically like to treat the first portion of the season like an extension of the preseason, their lack of depth at key positions if probably making that a bit of a challenge.
They've dealt with low numbers at receiver since the middle of training camp, but now their overall health at running back is an issue as well.
Rex Burkhead didn't practice on Wednesday due to a concussion, the team said on its latest injury report. He was on the field and in pads for the afternoon session behind Gillette Stadium, but he participated only in individual drills -- therefore the DNP designation.
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Burkhead took a brutal shot to the helmet late in the second quarter in New England's win over the Texans. Kareem Jackson came from his spot at safety to lay a hit on Burkhead that forced a fumble with less than a minute left in the half. The Patriots recovered and eventually scored, but Burkhead remained sidelined for the remainder of the drive. He returned early in the third quarter, on the second Patriots drive of the second half.
Burkhead took a big shot from Kareem Jackson at the end of the second quarter on Sunday, forcing a fumble. He remained sidelined for the rest of that drive. Re-entered for the second drive of the third quarter. pic.twitter.com/w4crVeo65S— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) September 12, 2018
The Patriots have two healthy backs on their active roster at the moment: James White and newly-acquired Kenjon Barner. The team also recently added running back Kenneth Farrow to its practice squad.
Jeremy Hill was placed on injured reserve earlier this week with a torn ACL, and Sony Michel continues to deal with a knee injury that has limited him in practice. Michel told reporters on Wednesday that he's preparing as though he'll play Sunday in Jacksonville.
"Every day," he said, "is all about progression."
The Patriots may need that progression to get to the point to where Michel can play this weekend because if Burkhead can't go, then there will be an alarming lack of depth among Tom Brady's offensive weapons.
At receiver, the Patriots have Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson. They also added Corey Coleman and Bennie Fowler on Tuesday. At tight end Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen are available, but Jacob Hollister is dealing with a hamstring issue that kept him out of the season-opener and continues to limit him in practice.