Patriots' injury bug continues with Edelman on IR

Patriots' injury bug continues with Edelman on IR
December 4, 2012, 5:45 pm
Share This Post

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm. Chandler Jones injured his ankle. Logan Mankins hurt his hip, calf and ankle.

Now Julian Edelman is out for the season. The dangerous punt returner and elusive wide receiver was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury by the New England Patriots on Tuesday.

The ailments keep piling up.

But so do the wins.

The Patriots' sixth straight victory last Sunday clinched first place in the AFC East. But things don't get easier. That streak, in fact, will be on the line Monday against the Houston Texans (11-1).

Like all teams, the Patriots (9-3) try to build depth. So, when a starter is sidelined, they can rely on his backup to fill in effectively, even if it means playing a different role. That happened at tight end when Gronkowski, the Patriots' outstanding pass catcher and blocker, missed the past two games with a broken left forearm- with the likelihood he'll miss at least two more.

The good news in that tight-end equation is that Aaron Hernandez, their other star tight end, is back after missing six games with a sprained right ankle.

One up, one down.

"Every player has some different strengths and so forth and you try to play to those guys' strengths,'' quarterback Tom Brady said. "I don't think you go into it and you say . there's only one Rob Gronkowski; there's only one of those in the league.

"The guys that are going to be in there playing that role, (they) have to go in there and do the best they can do. That's why they're on the team and that's why we have 53 guys on the roster, so everybody can contribute at one point or another.''

Trevor Scott did that at defensive end with two sacks in Sunday's 23-16 win at Miami. Scott stepped in when Jones, a rookie who is tied for the team lead with six sacks, missed his second game, and his primary backup, Jermaine Cunningham, began a four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

On the other side of the ball, Donald Thomas has filled in at left guard for Mankins, who was sidelined five of the past six games.

And now someone - or several players - will try to fill in for Edelman. He scored five touchdowns this season - three on receptions, one on a punt return and one on a fumble recovery. But he left Sun Life Stadium Sunday on crutches, wearing a walking boot on his right foot. Edelman may have broken his foot, but the Patriots provided no details of the injury.

Coach Bill Belichick did go out of his way, though, to praise Edelman's performance.

"Julian's had an opportunity to contribute offensively,'' he said. "In the kicking game, he's done a good job for us as a returner. He's also done a good job for us on kickoff coverage. Offensively, he's done a good job with the ball in his hands on screens and routes where he can run it, reverses and screens and things like that.''

The Patriots re-signed Donte' Stallworth on Tuesday to help out at wide receiver. They had released him Aug. 27, after signing him as a free agent following one season with the Redskins. He spent 2007 with the Patriots, one of his six teams, and made 46 catches for 697 yards and three touchdowns that year.

"A lot of cuts in training camp are hard,'' Belichick said, referring to Stallworth. "Guys come in, they work hard, they're competitive on our team, (and) they're competitive against competition.''

The loss of Edelman could mean more work for Wes Welker as a punt returner. That might increase the chances of injury for the NFL's leading receiver, although he filled in when Edelman missed three games this season with a hand injury.

Along the offensive line, this is nothing new. Backups have played key roles all season, protecting Brady and opening holes for running back Stevan Ridley. Right guard Dan Connolly missed the 59-24 win over Indianapolis Nov. 18 and was replaced by Nick McDonald. Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer sat out the 49-19 victory over the Jets Nov. 22 as Marcus Cannon took the start. And Thomas has stepped in for Mankins admirably, as mentioned.

"They've all done well,'' Belichick said. "They're all young guys in the relatively early part of their careers that have come in here in a variety of circumstances.''

The health of the Patriots is improving in at least one area - the secondary. Safeties Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung are back after missing four games each, although Devin McCourty has moved from cornerback into Chung's starting spot.

After Gronkowski was hurt, Belichick was asked about the expectations for the backup tight ends.

``Same as for every player on the roster,'' he said, "prepare, practice and be ready to go.''

So far, so good.

Texans - Team News
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins (hand) is probable for Week 7. The Texans listed Hopkins on the injury report, but his status was never in doubt. He'll be a WR3 for Monday night against the Steelers.
Oct 18 2:54PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (groin) is probable for Monday night's game against the Steelers. Foster was limited on Thursday, but practiced in full the last two days. He should have another heavy workload against a Steelers defense that's allowing 4.4 yards per carry...
Oct 18 2:48PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) was upgraded to full in Saturday's practice and is listed as probable for... Johnson is good to go for Monday night's matchup with the Steelers. He's Rotoworld's No. 15 receiver this week.
Oct 18 2:39PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is listed as questionable for Monday night's game against... Clowney got in two limited practices this week, but said he still "can't run laterally." He could be held out in an attempt to get fully healthy for Week 8. If...
Oct 18 2:20PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) returned to practice Friday. It was Clowney's first practice since undergoing knee surgery in Week 1. He's expected to be a game-time decision for Monday night. Clowney will likely be on a limited snap...
Oct 17 6:08PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (groin) was upgraded to full in Friday's practice. Foster suffered a groin injury in last Thursday's loss to the Colts, but his Week 7 status isn't in doubt. He should be fine for Monday night against the Steelers.
Oct 17 6:02PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) remained limited in Friday's practice. The Texans are limiting Johnson's practice reps, but he's expected to play on Monday night. Johnson is Rotoworld's No. 15 receiver this week.
Oct 17 5:53PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins is listed on the Week 7 injury report with a hand issue, but is practicing in... Hopkins must have tweaked something in last week's loss to the Colts. It won't affect his WR3 status for Week 7.
Oct 16 4:22PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) was limited in Thursday's practice. The Texans have made a habit of limiting Johnson's practice reps, but he hasn't been limited in games. He'll be a WR2 for Monday's game against the Steelers.
Oct 16 4:20PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster was limited in Thursday's practice with a groin injury. It's a new ailment for Foster, but it doesn't appear to be anything that's going to cast doubt on his status for Monday night's game against the Steelers. It's never wise to...
Oct 16 4:19PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) will be a game-time decision for Monday's tilt with the... "It's getting closer to game time and we'll know better as we move closer to game time," coach Bill O'Brien said Thursday. "If he were to play against...
Oct 16 3:41PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Coach Bill O'Brien said OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) has a 50-50 chance of returning to the... The Texans and Steelers play on Monday night. Clowney has been sidelined since going down with a torn meniscus in the season opener. J.J. Watt is single-handedly carrying...
Oct 15 9:28AM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is targeting Week 7 against the Steelers to return. Clowney is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. The first overall pick in May's draft would add a needed edge presence with J.J. Watt wreaking havoc up front....
Oct 10 2:32PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue rushed three times for 22 yards in Houston's Week 6 loss to the Colts. Blue was only called on when all-world workhorse Arian Foster needed a breather. Blue is a pure handcuff. He has no standalone value.
Oct 9 11:49PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham was held without a catch on one target in Houston's Week 6 loss to the Colts. It almost appears as if Graham is being phased out of the Texans' offense, as he's now been targeted just twice over his past two games. Graham is emphatically off the radar...
Oct 9 11:47PM Read More

More Team Talk