The New England Patriots’ final injury report heading into their Monday night matchup against the New York Jets saw only two players get ruled out: wide receiver N’Keal Harry will miss a second straight game due to a concussion, while running back J.J. Taylor’s illness will keep him out of the game as well. However, the Patriots had 17 more listed as questionable — including starters on offense, defense and special teams.
Three of those starters joined Harry and Taylor on the list of inactives on Sunday: the Patriots announced that defensive tackle Lawrence Guy (shoulder/elbow/knee), linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (groin) and cornerback Stephon Gilmore (knee) have been downgraded to out after not joining their teammates for the trip to New York.
Rookie tight end Dalton Keene (knee) also did not travel with the rest of the team, but his status remains listed as questionable for the time being. The educated guess is that he will eventually also be ruled out as well, however, leaving New England thin at the position: Ryan Izzo is the only other tight end on the active roster, and he is listed as questionable as well (hamstring).
As for Guy, his snaps will likely be split among the other defensive tackles on the roster: Adam Butler and Byron Cowart are the projected top options, with Nick Thurman and Carl Davis — listed as questionable (concussion) as well — offering depth behind them. Recently acquired Isaiah Mack, on the other hand, will not participate in the contest: he has not yet been allowed to join the team due to the league’s Covid-19 protocols.
At cornerback, meanwhile, J.C. Jackson is projected to take over for Gilmore as the Patriots’ CB1 — a role he also filled against the Buffalo Bills in Week 8. Jackson, however, is also among the those questionable to play against the Jets: the third-year man is dealing with a knee injury, and was limited in practice all week. New England also has Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams and Myles Bryant available at the cornerback position.
The biggest question mark, however, might be at linebacker: with Bentley out, the Patriots will likely turn to rookies Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings to play the off-the-ball role alongside safety Adrian Phillips. While Bentley has looked shaky recently — he missed four tackles over the last two weeks — he is still a valuable member of a New England defense that lost plenty of talent during the offseason.