By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
After posting a massive injury report on Thursday, things settled down for the Patriots at Friday’s practice.
Four days before their Monday night matchup with the Jets, New England got a number of key players back – highlighted by cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year missed last week’s game with a knee injury, then was missing for the first practice of the week on Thursday.
Defensive tackle Lawrence Guy returned as well. Guy left Sunday’s loss to Buffalo early with an injury, then was listed as a non-participant Thursday with shoulder, elbow, and knee injuries.
His return will help sure up the Patriots’ run defense, as will the return of fellow defensive tackle Carl Davis. Signed in mid-October, Davis has yet to play in a game with the Pats while dealing with a concussion.
Also returning to practice on Friday was practice squad DE/TE Rashod Berry. The rookie UDFA has spent most of the season working with the Patriots edge rushers in practice. However, he played both positions in college, and due to the run of injuries at the tight end position, could factor in on the offensive side of the ball in an emergency capacity.
“Rashod’s a very willing player, willing to do whatever he’s asked to do,” Bill Belichick told reporters Friday morning, when asked about a possible two-way role for Berry. “So, yeah, I mean, at this point, when you have to try to create depth on your roster, those are the kind of options that you’d want to look at.”
Still missing from practice are wide receiver N’Keal Harry (concussion) and running back J.J. Taylor (illness).
As the Patriots wait for their trade deadline acquisition Isaiah Ford to clear COVID protocol and join the team, one of their other early-week signings has begun working out in Foxborough. The team signed former third-round pick Donte Moncrief to the practice squad on Wednesday, and he has begun taking part in practices.
With Harry still sidelined from a concussion and Julian Edelman on IR, Moncrief represents the Patriots best option for an experienced receiver. The fact he is already working out with the team is an encouraging sign he could be activated for Monday night’s game if needed.
The Patriots will have one more open practice on Saturday before their meeting with the Jets. We’ll be keeping an eye on N’Keal Harry, as missing a full week of practice is usually a sign a player won’t play in that upcoming game. Another situation to monitor will be Sony Michel, who began practicing on Thursday after spending four weeks on IR, but has not yet been activated.
For more thoughts on the Patriots deadline, check out the Patriots Preview Podcast below:
Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.