Best linebacker gone? Check. Best defensive lineman gone?
According to those close to him, Chandler Jones could miss the rest of the 2014 regular season with his hip injury. Initially set to miss about a month, the timetable is now looking to be a minimum of six weeks, more likely longer than that. That means that the earliest the Patriots would get Jones back would be Week 13 at Green Bay, but initial reports have him sidelined for the rest of the year. Nothing is official yet, obviously, but with the way New England plays their cards so close to the vest, I imagine that there is some validity to the reports.
The good news is that there are no indications that Jones is done for the entire season, and should be back in time for the playoffs should his recovery go well. Of course, the road to the playoffs just got that much harder with the team's star edge rusher down for the count. Look for Dominique Easley to see extended time in the DE role, with the Patriots perhaps moving to more of a base nickel package to compensate for the loss of their two defensive stars.