By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Patriots fullback James Develin is out for the Patriots on Sunday against the New York Jets, per the team’s Friday injury report. He is considered week-to-week with a neck and upper back injury, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic.
Develin missed all three practices for the Patriots during the week. The fullback was active for 50 consecutive regular season games (21 starts) dating back to 2016. Sunday marks the first time that Develin will miss time since 2015, when he missed the entire season with a broken leg.
With Develin out, the Patriots have two options for Sunday: promote practice squad fullback Jakob Johnson to the main roster as his replacement, or significantly alter their offense. An integral piece to the Patriots’ running game, Develin averaged 24.9 offensive snaps per game in 2018 and played 58 snaps over the first two games of 2019.
The Patriots could simply try to run the ball more out of three-receiver sets, which they attempted on 13 out of 36 snaps against the Dolphins last Sunday as seen in this week’s Package Report. There’s also a chance we see an uptick in four-receiver groupings and more throwing in general.
Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady will likely find a way to score more than enough points to beat the Jets without Develin on Sunday. But it’s a challenge they haven’t faced in four years. It’ll be interesting to see if they believe Johnson is ready to step in and play Develin’s role.
Elsewhere on the injury report, four players are listed as questionable: LB Shilique Calhoun, (non-injury-related), OT Marcus Cannon (shoulder), TE Ryan Izzo (calf), and TE Matt LaCosse (ankle). Brady (calf) was removed from the report on Friday after appearing on the report on Wednesday and Thursday.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.