FOXBORO - The Patriots could see some shuffling among their offensive weapons on Monday night down in Jersey.
Josh Gordon was not present at the start of Thursday's practice after suffering a knee injury against the Giants last week. Gordon didn't immediately leave for the locker room, instead taking a seat on the sideline stationary bike and pedaling for an extended period. But the fact that he wasn't around for the start of Thursday's workout could be an indication that he's facing an uphill climb to get on the field against the Jets.
The Patriots were without both Gordon and Phillip Dorsett for most of last week's game as Dorsett dealt with a hamstring injury. Dorsett was on the field Thursday and spoke to reporters Tuesday, showing some optimism that he wouldn't be unavailable for much longer.
Dorsett might only be one part of the reinforcements heading for Tom Brady's huddle Monday. Rex Burkhead - who missed the last two weeks and was limited in Week 4 with a foot injury - was also back on the practice fields Thursday. After rolling for 50 snaps with undrafted rookies Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski last week, the Patriots could have more veteran experience on the field in prime time at MetLife Stadium.
The Patriots could also have a couple new roster additions in uniform a few days from now. They signed tight ends Ben Watson and Eric Tomlinson this week, potentially adding enough depth to allow Josh McDaniels to roll with some of the two-tight end sets the Patriots have turned to in the past. Starter Matt LaCosse suffered a knee injury last week that kept him out of Thursday's practice and could keep him off the field on Monday, but Tomlinson and Watson could complement what Ryan Izzo gives the team as its top option at that position.
Tomlinson, in particular, is a fascinating addition in that he has the ability to play in the backfield as well as in traditional tight end roles. With both Patriots fullbacks - Jakob Johnson and James Develin - on injured reserve at the moment, perhaps Tomlinson sees fullback-style blocking assignments if he's in uniform against the Jets.
"He's a bigger guy," Bill Belichick said Thursday. "Probably more of a . . . you know, bigger, has blocking ability. He has been in the backfield. He's played on the line of scrimmage. So, I don't know. We'll see how that all plays out."
Watson, meanwhile, would likely serve in more of a "move" tight end role if LaCosse can't go.
If Brady looks around the huddle Monday night and sees Dorsett, Watson and Burkhead - to go along with old standbys Julian Edelman and James White - then that would probably qualify as a welcome sight for a quarterback who so values experience.
THURSDAY'S INJURY REPORT
WR Josh Gordon
TE Matt LaCosse
RB Rex Burkhead
S Patrick Chung
WR Phillip Dorsett
WR Julian Edelman
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