Seau Gone for Season
Pats Place LB on IR with 'Injured Arm'
According to the Associated Press, the New England Patriots placed linebacker Junior Seau on injured reserve following a severe arm injury suffered in Sunday's 17-13 win over Chicago.
I'm not going to elaborate on the injury or Seau's career before singing with New England after his retirement. It's all in the story.
The Patriots will miss Seau. With Tedy Brushci recovering from his own wrist injury in the preseason, Seau reinforced a linebacking corps thin on top talent. When Brushchi's prognosis improved, Seau gave New England a solid veteran presence in the middle of the field, allowed Mike Vrabel to return to his "natural" position on the outside, and made linebackers Chad Brown and Monty Beisel expendable.
Without Seau, Vrabel likely moves back inside (as he did late in Sunday's game) and forces New England to use Tully Banta-Cain on the outside. Banta-Cain has greatly improved over last year, and the situation is "not so bad." But it's far from ideal.
New England also has inside linebackers Larry Izzo, Don Davis, Eric Alexander and Corey Mays, but the drop-off from even Vrabel moving inside is too much. They are, however, capable of short-term substitution to allow the starters a breather.
In general, with the injuries to the Patriots defensive secondary, especially Rodney Harrison's broken scapula, for which there is no timetable for his return, New England is behind a familiar 8-ball. Fortunately, the expected level of competition will not be what it has been the last few weeks, and the Pats should be able to survive until Harrison's return.