New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Foxborough, MA: New England Patriots offensive tackle Riley Reiff (74) works with a weight bag during 2023 training camp. (Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)

It’s about time the New England Patriots got some kind of reinforcements on the offensive line.

As the team officially announced Saturday, they are activating tackle Riley Reiff off injured reserve to the 53-man roster. Reiff spent the first four weeks on IR after being injured during the team’s preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans in August.

Reiff, 34, wasn’t on track to win the right tackle job in camp, so expectations should be tempered on what he could contribute. But he should be an immediate candidate to play right tackle, and could prove to be a better option than second-year tackle Vederian Lowe.

Reiff’s activation was just one of a series of news out of New England on Saturday, and it required a corresponding move by the Patriots, which we’ll cover below. Here’s a rundown of the moves and news to know about…

Judon to return this season?

Oct 1, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (9) walks off the field injured during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 1, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (9) walks off the field injured during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots also took the next step with one of their injured star players, but another still has hope to return later this season.

Interestingly enough, the team still hasn’t placed linebacker Matthew Judon on IR. He may yet end up there, but according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Judon’s surgery went well enough that “there is a good chance he’s back before the end of the year.” Rapoport says a December return “appears to be a realistic goal.”

The bigger question at hand: will the 1-3 Patriots be anywhere near playoff contention by the time Judon would be ready to return in December? If they are, they’d be getting as massive an addition as they could get that time of year.

  • Gonzalez headed to IR

    Sep 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Christian Gonzalez (6) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Sept. 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Christian Gonzalez (6) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Activating Reiff required a corresponding move to make room on the roster. The Patriots accomplished that by placing rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez on injured reserve.

    Gonzalez earned AFC Defensive Rookie of the Month honors for September after an outstanding start to his NFL career. He logged an interception, a sack, and 17 total tackles in his first four career games. After moving to IR, Gonzalez will have to miss at least four games after suffering a torn labrum when he dislocated his shoulder last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

    Gonzalez also needs surgery, but unlike Judon, the rookie doesn’t sound likely to return this season. Even if he’s close to full health in December, it’s in the Patriots’ best interests to shut down their prized young defender and focus on getting him back at 100 percent in 2024.

  • Jeremiah Pharms elevated from practice squad

    Pharms

    Jeremiah Pharms Jr. was on the Patriots practice squad last season after playing for the USFL’s Pittsburgh Maulers. (Photo by Bob Socci)

    The Patriots could also use help at defensive tackle, amid multiple injuries. For that, they’re turning to the practice squad, as they’ve officially elevated Jeremiah Pharms Jr. to the main roster.

    Both Christian Barmore (knee) and Davon Godchaux (ankle) appeared on the Patriots’ injury report this week, as they get ready for a crucial game against the Saints on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Both were limited participants throughout the week and listed as questionable.

    If Barmore or Godchaux (or both) are unable to go Sunday, Pharms would provide depth on the defensive interior. It should be a busy day for Lawrence Guy, Deatrich Wise, Sam Roberts, and rookie Keion White along the Patriots’ defensive line.

  • Click here for complete New England Patriots coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

    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.

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