Patriots get sneaky-big injury news on the defensive line
The New England Patriots’ rough start on the injury front continues.
As reported by ESPN’s Mike Reiss on X, the “initial diagnosis” for defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale is a torn bicep. Ekuale left last Sunday’s 15-10 win over the Jets after playing just 10 defensive snaps. His absence led to an increased workload for Sam Roberts (18 snaps).
Ekuale has carved out a consistent role for himself as a sub-rusher on the Patriots’ defensive interior. He filled in admirably for Christian Barmore as the latter recovered from a knee injury in 2022, and has been a steady presence as an inside rusher as Barmore has been more up-and-down. Ekuale had also been a productive run defender so far in 2023, with a forced fumble, one run-stop, and two total tackles in 15 snaps against the ground game, per Pro Football Focus. His consistency and reliability will be missed.
With Ekuale likely headed to injured reserve and possibly done for the season, Roberts would likely be the Next Man Up™ among the reserve interior defenders. The Patriots have mostly depended on mainstays Davon Godchaux and Lawrence Guy, so that’s not likely to change. Godchaux, however, also left Sunday’s game early with an ankle injury, so his injury situation is worth monitoring.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Patriots signed a new defensive tackle for depth purposes, or call up Jeremiah Pharms Jr. from the practice squad, as they get ready for a tough Week 4 road matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Check out all of Matt’s content here.