When the Patriots issued Friday’s practice report listing injuries and player statuses for Sunday, a whopping 16 names were included, with ailments extending from Nick Folk’s left knee to the lingering effects of Shaun Wade’s concussion.
At a time of year when injury issues multiply for every team, including many we never learn about, the Pats are trying to overcome — well, manage — theirs, as they attempt to recover from a frustrating 2-4 start.
Meanwhile, their opponent from New York identified half as many players on its portion of the report. And injured or not, the Jets are all relatively well-rested following a Week 6 bye.
What pops off the page while perusing the Pats’ report is the prognosis for two players, in particular.
One, cornerback Jonathan Jones, is definitely unavailable. He was officially ruled “out” on Friday. By Saturday, he was placed on injured reserve.
The loss of Jones will be felt in a secondary already shorthanded. To help compensate, Myles Bryant has been signed off the practice squad to the 53-man roster.
Jones’s absence also coincides with a recent New York addition. Unlike in their 25-6 loss to the Patriots on Sept. 19, the Jets will have their leading receiver from the past two seasons, Jamison Crowder, once again operating in the space Jones defends best.
The other notable is defensive lineman Davon Godchaux. What makes Godchaux stand out has less to do with the Jets’ 31st-ranked running game — though it did double its per-game average (74.0) with 152 yards vs. the Pats in Week 2 — than the fact that he is officially “questionable.”
According to NFL Operations, it’s a term that means it is “uncertain if a player will play.” In other words, 48 hours before kickoff, the Pats were still saying there’s a chance a guy who didn’t practice all week could still play.
Normally, someone missing from Wednesday through Friday wouldn’t be considered come Sunday. But for the Patriots, these are no ordinary times.
Just last week, offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn was thrust into action despite coming off the COVID list and a full two weeks of inactivity only the previous day. Duty called out of dire necessity.
Of late, the Pats are playing with little to no margin for error. Frankly, they can use every available body.
Then there’s a third player conspicuous by his ongoing absence, but no longer on the weekly reports: running back James White. His season-ending hip injury in Week 3 left the Patriots with a major offensive void.
Veteran Brandon Bolden has mainly tried to fill it as the so-called ‘third-down back.’ But while Brandon’s a jack of the position’s trades, from running hard to making an occasional catch to reliably protecting the passer, White is a master of the role.
Now, let’s work our way backwards to address the aforementioned trio and how their situations factor into the Pats’ bid to beat the Jets for a 12th straight time.