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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Just When You Think The Patriots Can't Suffer Another Devastating Injury, They Do

I can't remember the Patriots ever getting bombarded with so many serious injuries-to key players no less-this early in the regular season. That troubling trend continued tonight as reports surfaced on Twitter that linebacker and defensive captain Jerod Mayo had surgery on a torn pectoral muscle so he's not expected to play for the rest of the season. Ah! It happened last in Sunday's improbable win against the Saints and comes only a few days before they face the Jets (3-3) on Sunday (1, CBS) in New Jersey.

This is absurd, it's fruitless to whine about injuries since every team in the NFL gets them but are you kidding me right now? After only six games, the Patriots have lost Shane Vereen, Danny Amendola (multiple times), Matthew Slater, Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly and now Mayo. Oh and Rob Gronkowski has been the most talked about player in the NFL (or so it seems around here) the last few weeks but he has yet to step foot in an actual game. Ugh.

New England (5-1) has been able to survive this raft of injuries so far but at some point, this will all eventually catch up with them. Nobody has the type of depth to withstand losing all these vital players for significant periods of time. Replacing Mayo (55 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 pass deflected) with Dont'a Hightower is OK if not ideal. When you start talking about untested rookie Jamie Collins or special teams hero Dane Fletcher stepping in for the two-time Pro Bowl and 2010 All-Pro, well then you have a problem.

If nothing else, this unfortunately will prove to us one way or another if Mayo was overrated or not. Many people maintain that he piles up inflated statistics but never really makes game-changing plays. I'm not firmly in that camp but I will say that if you're looking for a big play linebacker, Mayo isn't necessarily your first or second option in the NFL. Still, I think we can all agree that he's a very effective player and a guy that has fit in with the Pats seamlessly from day one.

PS how miserable must it be to cover the Pats? Anytime there is a big story like this, it is broken by a national outlet (in this case Yahoo). You spend all that time covering the team but you can't build any good sources so in turn you get scooped every time for the most important stuff that people want to know. Yikes. I'll stick to just blogging about the Patriots thank you very much, no wonder why a majority of their beat writers are so beaten down.

UPDATE 10/16: The Pats publically acknowledged Mayo's injury today, putting him on season-ending IR and re-signing defensive tackle Andre Neblett.

UPDATE 10/17: Devin McCourty regained his captaincy with Mayo gone and the Patriots signed cornerback Travis Howard to their practice squad.

UPDATE 10/18: Rob Ninkovich was also named a captain, in place of Vince Wilfork.

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