Patriots

Tom Brady (calf) looks good to go after popping up on Patriots injury report

Tom Brady (calf) looks good to go after popping up on Patriots injury report

FOXBORO — Because it’s Tom Brady, any time his name shows up on the injury report it’s worth taking notice. But from what reporters saw at Thursday's Patriots practice, it appears as though there’s not much to worry about when it comes to Brady’s latest ailment. 

Brady was listed as a limited participant during Wednesday’s practice due to a calf injury, but he seemed to be moving without issue at the start of Thursday’s workout. 

Going through the team’s usual stretching routine, Brady moved without a noticeable limp. He also took part in the high-knee portion of the warmup by aggressively churning his legs, not favoring one or the other. Brady jogged at a good pace during the warmup and after the warmup while heading toward one end of the practice field for the next practice period. That was when media availability at the session ended. 

Brady's lower-body health is critical to the success of the Patriots offense. He’s not a threat to run for significant yardage, but his mobility inside the pocket allows the Patriots to avoid negative plays and create scramble-drill opportunities that can lead to big gains. Against the Jets and their blitz-happy coordinator Gregg Williams, it’ll be important for Brady to be able to climb the picket to escape edge pressure or side-step pressure coming from the interior of the Patriots offensive line. 

As the Patriots deal with shuffled personnel on the offensive line — Isaiah Wynn is on injured reserve and Marcus Cannon is dealing with a shoulder injury — Brady may be forced to get himself out of trouble more than he might if he had his full starting offensive line to play behind. 

What reporters saw from Brady on Thursday was brief. But it was encouraging for the Patriots that after being limited 24 hours earlier, the 42-year-old quarterback looked like himself. (The Patriots will release an injury report later on Thursday. Brady would be considered limited again if he took anything less than what’s typically considered a full workload for him.)

The Patriots were without fullback James Develin and outside linebacker Shilique Calhoun at the start of practice. Both missed Wednesday’s workout. Develin is dealing with a neck issue while Calhoun had a non-injury related issue that held him out of the team’s first practice this week. 

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Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes leaves game vs. Broncos with knee injury

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes leaves game vs. Broncos with knee injury

The Kansas City Chiefs could be without their star quarterback for an extended period of time.

Patrick Mahomes left Thursday night's game vs. the Denver Broncos with a right knee injury. The 2018 NFL MVP injured himself attempting a QB sneak in the second quarter and was ruled out for the game shortly thereafter.

Mahomes was able to walk off the field under his own power, but this looks like it could be a serious injury for the 24-year-old. If that's the case, the Patriots' path to another AFC title just got infinitely easier.

Mahomes will undergo an MRI on Friday.

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Pro Football Focus ranks Patriots defense 'far and away' the best in the NFL

Pro Football Focus ranks Patriots defense 'far and away' the best in the NFL

It's safe to say that probably the only reason the Patriots are 6-0 heading into a Monday Night Football showdown with the Jets is their defense. 

With its continuity, smart players that give the coaching staff an ability to adjust on the fly and supreme talent in the secondary, the New England defense has stifled every opponent it has gone up against. 

Of course, the fact that the Patriots have gone up against a group of quarterbacks consisting of Luke Falk, Colt McCoy, Daniel Jones and Ryan Fitzpatrick, but you can only play the teams on your schedule. And the Pats have slowed down their opponent's offenses at a historic rate. So much so, that Pro Football Focus ranked them the NFL's top defense by a wide margin. 

The Patriots have been far and away the best defense in the NFL this season, registering an EPA allowed per play of nearly -0.5. Their defensive success can largely be attributed to their secondary, which has been playing outstanding football, granted against some of the most advantageous quarterback matchups a team could possibly have. They are the only team to allow fewer than six yards per targeted attempt (5.8), the only team to allow a passer rating below 65.0 on targeted passes (46.1), and their 14 interceptions are five more than any other team. It will be interesting to see them compete with a competent passing attack, but they have all the makings of a dominant secondary and defense overall.

With their next four games coming against Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson and Carson Wentz, the Patriots defense will finally be appropriately put to the test. 

With Tom Brady's offense continued struggles to move the ball, New England's defense might have to play better than they have already, which might just be too much to ask. 

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