One of the major factors in the New England Patriots disappointing 5-3 record over their first eight games is the injuries the team has suffered. Several major players have suffered injuries and been unable to regain full health. The team’s bye week this week will give the Patriots their first chance to regain full health for the stretch run.
The area most hit by injury has been the defensive backfield. Most of the key Patriots defensive backs have some kind of injury that have kept them out of games and limited them in practice. The Patriots pass defense has been the worst in the league over the past few years as they attempt to rebuild that part of the team and injuries have been a key reason.
The Patriots currently have three injured cornerbacks. Signed in 2009, Kyle Arrington suffered a head injury during the team’s week seven win over the New York Jets. Marquice Cole, a new addition this season, was injured in Sunday’s win over the St. Louis Rams. Though he hasn’t missed any games, Sterling Moore who shined in last season’s postseason has been limited in practice and will need the week off.
At the safety position both starters are currently injured and the bye week should help. 2009 draft pick Patrick Chung was held out the last two games and was limited in practice last week with a shoulder injury. To help Chung in the defensive backfield, the Patriots signed veteran Steve Gregory last off-season but Gregory has been out since week four with a hip injury.
As if the injuries in the defensive backfield weren’t enough, two of the Patriots three key linebackers are also injured. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower has been out with a hamstring injury but looks to be close to returning. 2008 draft pick Jerod Mayo was selected as an All-Pro in 2010 but has been out for the Patriots this season since week seven with an elbow injury.
There are currently less injuries on offense but still a number of players that the bye week should help. Running back Shane Vereen has returned but Brandon Bolden, who has been a key to the Patriots success, has missed the last two games with a knee injury.
Three key injuries to the offense have been tight end Aaron Hernandez, wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, and guard Logan Mankins. Hernandez suffered an ankle injury in week two. After returning for two games he didn’t travel with the team to London for the Rams game. Mankins suffered a calf and hip injury. The severity of his injury is still unknown but he did travel to London which implies that he could be close to a return. Lloyd’s injury seems much less severe as he’s been sharp and hasn’t missed any games but he was limited last week in practice.
Every football team has injuries that hamper them throughout the season. They just hope that they aren’t to key players. Unfortunately for the Patriots some of their injuries have been to key players which have contributed to their disappointing season so far. Although the upcoming bye week threatens the momentum the Patriots have built up, they will be able to use this time off to bring back some players for the final stretch of the regular season. It may be just what they need to finally get back to their winning ways.