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Perry: Patriots secondary remains in rough shape

NBC Sports

The Patriots secondary has had a rough week. 

On Monday, it allowed three touchdown passes and 10.5 yards per pass attempt to Joe Flacco, needing a JC Jackson interception in the fourth quarter to spark a comeback.   

On Thursday, it was missing three players at the team's practice despite having all players present for a walkthrough on Wednesday. 

Stephon Gilmore (knee) practiced twice last week and was listed as "questionable" for Monday's game before eventually being ruled out. His presence on the field Wednesday indicated that he was progressing toward a return. But he was among the missing Thursday.

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Jonathan Jones and Terrence Brooks, both listed as dealing with illnesses, were also missing from Thursday's practice. Neither player was placed on the COVID reserve list Thursday. Jones played 37 of a possible 46 defensive snaps against the Jets as the team's top slot corner. Brooks started the game Monday and played nine snaps.

The Patriots will have one more practice tomorrow before Sunday night's matchup with the Ravens at Gillette Stadium.

Lamar Jackson and his teammates have not been as potent a passing attack as they were last year -- tied with the Patriots offense with 7.1 yards per pass attempt this season -- but Bill Belichick's defense has struggled against the pass. On the season the Patriots are allowing a league-worst 8.8 yards per pass attempt. Going without Gilmore or Jones, if that's what happens, would rob the team of two of its best coverage players.