When the New England Patriots released their final injury report of the week on Saturday, they already ruled three players out to suit up against the New York Jets: wide receiver Josh Gordon (knee/ankle) and tight ends Matt LaCosse (knee) and Ryan Izzo (concussion) will not play on Monday night. Add defensive end Michael Bennett, who has been suspended for one week by the team, and you already get a long list of inactives.
On Sunday, the list grew even further: running back Rex Burkhead has officially been downgraded to ‘out’ for the game. Burkhead, who already missed New England’s last two games because of a foot injury, was originally listed as ‘questionable’ on Saturday’s injury report — one of five Patriots to share this designation. But while the other four made the trip to New York with the rest of the team, the 29-year-old did not and will sit out the contest.
With Burkhead unavailable, the Patriots will again head into game day with four healthy running backs: Sony Michel will serve as the early down back, James White as the top receiving back option, and Brandon Bolden as the de facto replacement for Burkhead. Third-round rookie Damien Harris, meanwhile, is not expected to play a major role even if the team decides to carry him on its 46-man game day roster.
The four players mentioned above who are listed as ‘questionable’ will be game time decisions, in the meantime: wide receivers Julian Edelman (chest), Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) and Gunner Olszewski (hamstring), as well as starting strong safety Patrick Chung (heel/chest). All in all, the Patriots will need to downgrade two more players until 90 minutes before Monday’s kickoff.