The New England Patriots will face one of the best defenses in the NFL tomorrow. However, the team’s offense enters its game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with some personnel questions: running backs Rex Burkhead (concussion) and Sony Michel (knee) were both limited all week in practice and appear to be game-time decisions heading into the rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game.
Furthermore, there is a realistic chance that starting right tackle Marcus Cannon misses the contest (via The Atheltic’s Jeff Howe):
It’d take an impressive improvement for Marcus Cannon to play through a calf injury tomorrow, according to a source. Patriots have prepared LaAdrian Waddle this week to start in case Cannon can’t go.
Cannon did not play when the Patriots met the Jaguars in January due to a season-ending ankle issue, and it looks as if his latest ailment – a calf injury – could keep him out of Sunday’s game as well. Without their the 30-year old, New England would turn to primary backup LaAdrian Waddle to go against Jacksonville’s talented defensive linemen like Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue.
Waddle brings plenty of experience to the table but is a downgrade from the starter he could replace tomorrow: last week against the Houston Texans and All-Pro defender J.J. Watt, Cannon held his ground while playing 61% of offensive snaps. Waddle, meanwhile, was more inconsistent during the 39% of snaps he was on the field for. It would therefore not be a surprise to see the Patriots try to help Waddle with an additional blocker – think tight end Dwayne Allen – at times tomorrow.