The New England Patriots did not just exit their matchup against the visiting Miami Dolphins with a 21-11 victory to improve to 1-0 on the season, they also were able to come away from the game pretty healthy: no injury updates were announced by the club during the game, with only a handful of players appearing to either get shaken up at one point or to possibly be dealing with some minor ailments.
With that said, let’s take a look at three players who did catch the eye at one point yesterday.
OT Jermaine Eluemunor: While the rest of the Patriots’ starting offensive line went wire-to-wire, Eluemunor was used more rotationally and finished the game with a 75 percent playing time share (48 of 64). While conditioning or a minor injury might have been the reason behind this, it seems more likely that New England’s coaching staff simply wanted to get a clear look at its talent at right tackle: Eluemunor saw most of the action, with rookie Mike Onwenu coming onto the field as a rotational player at the position and jumbo tight end. Eluemunor playing on a snap count is therefore likely nothing to worry about.
DT Adam Butler: Midway through the second quarter, Butler was shaken up while making a tackle on Dolphins running back Matt Breida. The fourth-year man went to the sideline favoring his right arm or shoulder, and had trainers look at the apparent injury. However, the issue did not appear to be a major one: while he sat out the remaining four defensive plays of the series, he was eventually back on the field on the next defensive drive and finished the game as New England’s number one down-lineman in terms of playing time (34 of 62 snaps).
QB Cam Newton: As opposed to Eluemunor and Butler, Newton did not miss any time during yesterday’s game and was on the field for all 64 of New England’s offensive snaps. However, some questions emerged after he was spotted holding his left hamstring following the game. While it remains to be seen whether or not this is anything substantial, Newton himself downplayed any potential injury on Monday: “I don’t know where that came from. I didn’t have no hamstring problems. We won, so that means I’m not hurt no more.”
What this means for the Patriots
All in all, the Patriots can feel very good about their injury situation one week into the regular season: with the exception of Adam Butler, no player was obviously shaken up on Sunday or suffered any other injuries. This especially noteworthy coming off a summer without preseason football to get used to the physicality and speed of the NFL game again.
While the team does have some players on injured reserve that could be back as soon as Week 4 (Damien Harris, Gunner Olszewski, Beau Allen), and had to deactivate tight end Dalton Keene and linebacker Cassh Maluia against the Dolphins because of neck and knee issues, respectively, the current active roster as on the whole appears to be a pretty healthy one after the first game of the season.
Of course, Wednesday’s injury report will create a clearer picture.