En route to securing a first-round playoff bye, the New England Patriots played a near-perfect game on Sunday against the New York Jets. However, in the process of beating their AFC East rivals 38-3, the team lost one of its defensive cornerstones: safety Devin McCourty left the contest in the third quarter after getting hit hard by teammate Malcom Brown on a tackle attempt. The veteran was later ruled “out” with a head injury.
But even though he was forced out of the game and absent during the media portion of yesterday’s practice, there appears to be optimism surrounding McCourty’s injury situation as The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reports:
There’s optimism Devin McCourty will be ready for the Patriots’ playoff opener, according to a source. McCourty suffered a concussion Sunday against the Jets and couldn’t practice today, but there’s a belief he’ll be ready Jan. 13 if the progress remains intact.
Getting McCourty — one of three players not spotted during yesterday’s session — back for the divisional playoff round on January 13 will be big for the Patriots: the veteran played 96.3% of New England’s defensive snaps during the regular season and is among the team’s leaders both on and off the field. While Duron Harmon is an able replacement, the Patriots’ secondary is undoubtably at its best when McCourty is playing his starting role in it.
Howe’s report comes a few days after Patriots head coach Bill Belichick already voiced some optimism about his team’s injury situation as a whole. “I think right now we’re in pretty good shape,” Belichick told WEEI during his weekly appearance on Tuesday (via ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss). “[Cordarrelle] Patterson wasn’t able to play against the Jets, but hopefully we’ll be able to get him back.”
“I think our overall continuity the last few weeks, of not only the injury report for games but just being able to practice consecutively with players that are going to play in the game gives you better timing and execution, and has helped us that way,” Belichick continued. “We’ll see, but so far, I think we’ll have a full group out there this week at practice.” While the full group was not spotted yesterday, it looks and sounds like the Patriots will be back at 100% sooner rather than later.