After already designating three players as “out” on Friday’s injury report, the New England Patriots added three more to the list today: as the team announced on Saturday afternoon, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, safety Kyle Dugger and offensive tackle Justin Herron did not make the trip to Buffalo and will miss the pivotal Week 8 game against the Bills.
The biggest name on the list is obviously Gilmore. The NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year was unable to finish Thursday’s practice after tweaking his knee, and injury that was later revealed to be minor. Nevertheless, it forced the 30-year-old to also sit out Friday’s session as well as now the trip to Buffalo altogether.
Gilmore missing the game against his former club will be his first absence since the 2017 season, when he sat out three games because of a concussion. Since then, he has appeared in 53 straight regular season and postseason contests.
While Gilmore’s absence is obviously a blow for New England’s defense, its secondary still remains a strength for the team. The Patriots, after all, still have J.C. Jackson and Jason McCourty as their top perimeter cornerbacks alongside, with Jonathan Jones as the starter in the slot. Furthermore, former second-round draft pick Joejuan Williams and undrafted rookie Myles Bryant offer additional depth behind them.
That said, Gilmore missing the trip still hurts the team as a whole, especially with Jackson also listed as questionable on the injury report due to a knee issue. If the former undrafted rookie free agent is ready to go, though, either he or Jason McCourty will take over the assignments that normally would have gone to Gilmore — most likely Buffalo’s number one wide receiver, Stefon Diggs.
Gilmore, Dugger (ankle) and Herron (ankle) have now joined wide receivers Julian Edelman (knee) and N’Keal Harry (concussion) as well as defensive tackle Carl Davis (concussion) as those unable to participate against the Bills on Sunday. The expectation is that Edelman will eventually be placed on injured reserve and therefore miss at least three games.