[An earlier version of this article mistakenly had three ineligible players listed]
Now that the Patriots have designated Duke Dawson to come back from injured reserve, it leaves them one spot to bring someone else back. They need to think long and hard about who they designate to come back. You don’t want what happened last year, when neither player they activated played a snap, to happen again. The Patriots have some talented players on IR, at some positions of need, that could potentially help the team moving forward. Let’s take a look at who the Patriots have the option of bringing back.
Bentley started the season at middle linebacker. It’s rare for a rookie linebacker to start right out of the gate for a Belichick coached team, but Bentley played with great instincts, and, although his testing wasn’t great, good game speed. Although the Patriots have not said Bentley is done for the year, and he is eligible to be return from IR, it seems unlikely that he will come back. Hopefully he will come back healthy next year and once again be a playmaker for this team.
From the outside, Burkhead seems like the perfect candidate to come off IR. He is at a position of need for the Patriots, and can be a playmaker when on the field. However, he has really struggled to stay healthy, and may not be ready to come back from his injuries. His neck is the primary concern, but he also have dealt with some concussions, which could certainly be problematic. If I were putting odds on it, however, I would put Burkhead near the top of the list of players who could come back this season.
The newest addition to the IR does have the ability to come back for the playoffs. Rowe was put on IR with a groin injury, and, depending on how the rest of the corners play in his absence, and if there’s any more injuries, he could potentially come back. It doesn’t seem overly likely that he will, but it is an option for them. I think there are other players who make more sense than him, especially with the depth the Patriots have at corner, but, if no one else can get healthy, he would be a good addition to the secondary for the playoffs.
Pat is the host of the Patriot Nation Podcast
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