Patriots LB Jerod Mayo to season-ending IR, how many injuries can New England handle?

Frank Schwab

The New England Patriots are 5-1 despite some significant injuries. But there's a point for any team when injuries keep piling up and it's just too much to overcome.

When news broke from Yahoo's Les Carpenter that linebacker Jerod Mayo had pectoral surgery, you had to wonder if the Patriots were at that point. Mayo was officially placed on season-ending injured reserve, the team announced Wednesday.

Mayo joins defensive tackle Vince Wilfork on IR, which eliminates the heart of the Patriots' defense for the rest of the year. Cornerback Aqib Talib, the third of the Patriots' three best defensive players, is dealing with a hip flexor injury that knocked him out of last week's game against the Saints. The offense has been without Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola for significant portions of the season already. At this point it's probably easier to mention who isn't hurt for the Patriots.

New England has gotten creative when injuries have hit before, using offensive players on defense in a pinch, but that can only go so far. It's also impossible to replace players like Mayo and Wilfork.

Bill Belichick has done a great job this season to get his team to 5-1. If the Patriots can keep up that pace through all these injuries, it will be remarkable.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter.