It looks like the Patriots defense will take another long-term hit due to injury
New England Patriots rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez left Sunday’s 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday early with a shoulder injury. According to the first reported update on his condition on Monday, it could be a bit longer until fans see him on the field again.
According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, Gonzalez dislocated his shoulder while trying to tackle Cowboys running back Tony Pollard in the first quarter of Sunday’s game. Howe shared that Gonzalez is undergoing further tests to determine the severity of the injury, but he “is expected to miss some time.”
Losing Gonzalez for any amount of time would be a major blow to the Patriots’ secondary. The team is already without cornerbacks Jack Jones and Marcus Jones, who are on IR, while veteran Jonathan Jones remains on the active roster but hasn’t played in three weeks. Jack Jones is eligible to return from IR starting this week, but is expected to miss more time.
Plus, the injury disrupts what has been a very promising rookie year for the 17th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Gonzalez showed promise against elite wide receivers in the Patriots’ first three games, and just last week was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September.
The Patriots now have just two healthy true cornerbacks on their roster in Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade. Jalen Mills, who previously played cornerback but converted to safety prior to this season, returned to his old position after Gonzalez got hurt on Sunday. Rookie Ameer Speed played cornerback in college, but has played exclusively special teams to this point in the season. There are also two cornerbacks on the Patriots’ practice squad – Azizi Hearn and Breon Borders – who both signed with the team two weeks ago.
Gonzalez isn’t the only key defensive player the Patriots lost on Sunday. Linebacker Matthew Judon is expected to miss time with an elbow injury he suffered in the fourth quarter.