Injury List Gets Longer
Key Players May Sit Out
Here is the Patriots' injury list for Week 5:
New England Patriots (3-1)
TE Daniel Graham, Questionable (Ankle)
SS Artrell Hawkins, Questionable (Thigh)
CB Ellis Hobbs, Questionable (Wrist)
WR Chad Jackson, Questionable (Hamstring)
T Nick Kaczur, Questionable (Shoulder)
FS Eugene Wilson, Questionable (Hamstring)
FS Willie Andrews, Probable (Thigh)
QB Tom Brady, Probable (Shoulder)
T Ryan O'Callaghan, Probable (Head)
Miami Dolphins (1-3)
G Jeno James, Questionable (Knee)
CB Eddie Jackson, Probable (Toe)
OLB Derrick Pope, Probable (Hamstring)
Chad Jackson remains listed as questionable, and I don't like it. His hamstring doesn't appear to be improving much, though he played last week. The Patriots can't afford to have him play every second week. They need him for the long haul.
So the question is: Do you sit him this week, knowing that you're playing under-performing Miami and give him two weeks to rest (next week is the Patriots' bye), or do you play him if he can go but not at 100 percent?
I say you rest him.
Half of the secondary remains hobbled. Randall Gay is gone for the season, and Hawkins, Hobbs and Wislon are gimpy. That's a bigger problem than any passing game issue. Yes, they survived pass-happy Cincinnati in similar straits, but this situation has been becoming a drag for a couple years. But there doesn't seem to be an immediate solution.
Next week's bye is a little earlier than I'd like it, but it may be that it's just the right time this year. The Patriots don't have a brutal schedule like they did last year, and most of the toughest opponents -- of which there are few -- are coming to Gillette. That should help with week-to-week player maintenance issues.