Another defender for the New England Patriots has caught the injury bug. This time it is Alfonzo Dennard which is a blow that certainly hurts.
Dennard missed Monday’s game against the Carolina Panthers with a knee injury. The injury was suffered in practice of all places. Now the official word is that Dennard will miss a few weeks after undergoing a small meniscus procedure. That makes Dennard yet another defensive back who will miss the next couple of weeks along with Steve Gregory (thumb).
And this injury could not come at a worse time. The Patriots play host to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, a team that features the best offense in the NFL. That’s because Peyton Manning has a plethora of weapons in the passing game. And to make sure that those pass catchers do not get loose, a defense must feature multiple cornerbacks who can lock these pass catchers down. Dennard is one of those guys.
It is safe to say that Dennard is one of the best No. 2 cornerbacks in the league. He is rarely thrown at in coverage. When Dennard is tested he often contests the coverage very well. This is evidenced by the fact that he has seven passes defended in nine games. It is hard for opposing wide receivers to shake Dennard’s physical coverage, especially when he is squaring off against No. 2 wide receivers.
What compounds Dennard’s injury is the fact that other Patriots cornerbacks are also struggling to stay healthy. Aqib Talib re-aggravated his hip injury against the Panthers, and Kyle Arrington suffered a groin injury against the Panthers as well (though Arrington later returned to the game).
No defense succeeds without its top-three cornerbacks, let alone an injury to a very capable No. 2 corner. Dennard’s absence showed against Carolina and will certainly show against Denver.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.