The injury bug is finally starting to release it’s grasp on the Patriots. Aside from a few season-ending injuries, most notably first-round draft pick OL Isaiah Wynn, the minor injuries have impeded the Pats week to week. A few absences from Gronk as well as injuries to Sony Michel and the ongoing struggles Cannon has had staying healthy, have hurt the Patriots. Not enough to make them lose of course, but impact injuries nonetheless.
That all has turned a corner this week. It started at Wednesday’s walkthrough where seemingly everyone of concern was present.
Patriots held walkthrough today without jerseys making full attendance hard. Rob Gronkowski, Sony Michel and Shaq Mason were all present after missing Sunday. James White was also present.
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) November 7, 2018
Thursday brought with it even better news to a dinged up backfield.
Welcome back to practice, RB Rex Burkhead.
Burkhead is eligible to play on Dec. 2 vs. Vikings. This means Burkhead takes the Patriots’ second and final designated to return IR spot.
Confirms that LB Ja’Whaun Bentley won’t return until 2019 season.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) November 8, 2018
Losing Bentley for the rest of the year sucks with an always thin linebacking core, but it’s by no means unexpected. However, having Burkhead back this early is a great sign. Now he’ll have three weeks of practice under his belt, and perfectly placed week 11 bye, before he returns to the field. My only qualm would be I hope this doesn’t mean the end of Cordalle Patterson in the backfield. The versatility he brings to the run game has shades of a certain tight end who shall not be named. It’s smash nose, big boy football when he’s charging at the line, and at his size, can’t be found anywhere else. Give me more of that along with the rest of the running backs.
Not that this is a surprise to anyone in New England, nor should it be for anyone around the league, but the Pats are once again the team to beat in the AFC. Many analysts are clamoring at the idea that if the Cheifs can get the Patriots in Kansas City then they have a chance to knock them off in the playoffs. Those people are fools.
The Patriots could play the Cheifs, or anyone for that matter, anywhere and put them in their rightful place. We’re on to the Super Bowl. My focus for the remainder this season is now solely on the NFC and who I think has the best chance of challenging the GOAT.
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