New England Patriots safety Steve Gregory was injured in the team’s week four win over the Buffalo Bills. The hip injury that has kept him out of the last two games will keep him out again Sunday when the Patriots take on the New York Jets. The injury to the seven year veteran is especially troubling because the one place the Patriots can’t afford to lose experience is in their defensive secondary.
The Patriots have been trying to rebuild their defensive secondary since 2009 but in 2011 the group was the worst in the NFL. After last season, the Patriots signed veteran Gregory and Will Allen to help the young troubled group. Unfortunately Allen is on the injured reserve list and Gregory has had a lingering hip injury keeping him out.
Helping the Patriots Sunday will be that Santonio Holmes is out for the season for the Jets so he won’t be on the field Sunday. But that still doesn’t ease the worry of an aerial attack. Getting behind the young safeties of the Patriots was what helped the Seattle Seahawks upset the Patriots last week. It’s something that would not be expected to happen if Gregory was healthy enough to participate.
On the good side for the Patriots, the Jets are a much more effective running team than passing team without Holmes and the Patriots run defense is near the top of the league. Another good note is that of the three key injured players for the Patriots, Gregory is seen as the closest to returning to action. His return will be a much needed boost to the Patriots defense when it occurs.
On Sunday the Patriots will have to again rely on their young starting safeties which includes rookie Tavon Wilson. With the youth there will likely be mistakes that could turn into big plays for the Jets. It’s something that has hampered the Patriots all season. But on the horizon is the return of the veteran Gregory who may finally bring stability to the Patriots defensive backfield.