In another sad turn of events, the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe reports Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard will be declared out for Monday's game against the Panthers. Dennard missed practice with a knee injury. The Patriots defense is already decimated with injuries, although cornerback Aqib Talib is expected to return this week. Fellow cornerback Kyle Arrington has been fighting a groin injury all week, but is expected to play.
Losing Dennard is tough as he's provided some very solid coverage the entire season. Kyle Arrington is likely to take his spot in base coverage and I wouldn't be surprised if cornerback Logan Ryan was brought on to play the outside, while Arrington bumps inside to the slot in the nickel defense.
The Panthers passing offense isn't elite, but they have a balanced attack with four targets having between 386 and 450 yards. Dennard would likely have been tapped to cover Brandon LaFell, who is 3rd on the team with 50 targets. It is likely the Patriots are taking additional precaution in order to ensure Dennard's health against the Broncos as the conference game holds much higher importance.