Tom Brady’s core of pass-catchers is going to look moderately different against the New York Jets than last week’s group.
The New England Patriots have ruled out wide receiver Josh Gordon (knee/ankle) as well as tight ends Matt LaCosse (knee) and Ryan Izzo (concussion) for Sunday’s game. Gordon’s absence comes after he appeared to twist his knee on Thursday against the New York Giants.
Also questionable are receiver Julian Edelman (chest), Phillip Dorsett (hamstring), Gunner Olszewski (hamstring), running back Rex Burkhead (foot), and safety Patrick Chung (heel, chest). One or more of those players could be downgraded.
In total, the injury report accounts for a total of 1,253 of New England’s 1,789 receiving yards this season.
Ben Watson’s return becomes more important
Assuming most, if not all, of the questionable players end up playing (these are the Patriots, after all), the biggest question facing the team figures to be how well Ben Watson slots in now that he and blocking specialist Eric Tomlinson are the team’s only healthy tight ends.
LaCosse and Izzo were the only tight ends to post receiving yards this year for the Patriots, though they weren’t a focal point of the offense with 169 yards between them.
Watson posted 400 receiving yards and two touchdowns with the New Orleans Saints last year before retiring, un-retiring, signing with the Patriots, getting a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, getting released by the Patriots after his reinstatement, then re-signing with the team just a week later.
Facing the Patriots will be a Jets team with an impressively lengthy injury report that includes defensive lineman Henry Anderson (shoulder), offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum (ankle), cornerback Nate Hairston (knee), tight end Chris Herndon (hamstring), linebacker Neville Hewitt (neck, knee) and offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele (shoulder) all listed as doubtful, though there is some behind-the-scenes drama going over that last injury.
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