The New England Patriots entered their Week 6 game against the Cleveland Browns with some serious personnel questions on both sides of the ball: five starting-caliber players, including quarterback Mac Jones, were ruled out for the game. And yet, the Patriots were able to celebrate a 38-15 blowout win.
There obviously is a lot to feel good about how things unfolded, but there are still issues related to the team’s overall health. More players went down injured on Sunday, even though it remains to be seen just how serious all of the issues are.
For now, however, let’s take a look at the players who were either announced as injured or caught our eye after re-watching the game.
WR Kendrick Bourne: With Nelson Agholor out, Bourne saw a spike in opportunities and was on the field for four of the Patriots’ first six offensive snaps of the day. However, he left the field after DeVante Parker’s 29-yard catch down the left sideline, and eventually was announced as questionable to return due to a toe injury. He was later spotted in a walking booth after the game, and is reportedly dealing with turf toe.
DT Christian Barmore: Barmore remained on the ground following a third-down stop midway through the second quarter. The sophomore defender was double-teamed on the play, and went down just as Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett released the football. He was eventually helped off the field before walking into the locker room under his own power. Barmore was initially announced as questionable to return before eventually being ruled out at the half.
S Cody Davis: Trying to cover the kickoff after the Patriots went up 10-3 in the late second period, Davis went down without enemy contact and immediately grabbed his left knee. He did walk off under his own power and while accompanied by members of New England’s training staff, but left for the locker room and was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game.
DE Deatrich Wise Jr.: The team captain stayed down halfway through the fourth quarter after a 5-yard Cleveland run. He did get up under his own power, though, jogged off the field while seemingly testing out his right arm or shoulder area. Two plays later, Wise Jr. was back on the field and he did not miss any more playing time due to the issue.
What this means for the Patriots
Already entering the game with several high-profile players ailing, the Patriots’ injury situation certainly did not improve against the Browns. While the issue suffered by Deatrich Wise Jr. will likely not be any long-term issue — he said so himself after the game — the other three are potentially worrisome.
Kendrick Bourne has played a relatively small role on offense through the first six weeks of the season, but it was steadily expanded. He would likely have served as WR3 in light of fellow wide receiver Nelson Agholor’s hamstring injury; now his outlook is less clear depending on the severity of his toe issue. If he is forced to miss time, and unless Agholor is able to return quickly, the Patriots’ top three at the position will be Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker and rookie Tyquan Thornton.
As for Christian Barmore, losing him for any extensive period of time would be a big blow to one of the NFL’s best defenses. He is a staple of the team’s interior defensive line, and while the numbers do not quite reflect it has played a valuable role for the unit; he is consistently drawing attention away from his teammates. In his absence, Daniel Ekuale and sixth-round rookie Sam Roberts saw an increased workload.
Cody Davis going down, meanwhile, would hurt New England in the kicking game. Davis and Matthew Slater are the veteran leaders of the group, and core members of all four coverage and return teams. The veteran missing any time due to his knee injury would force the Patriots to make some adjustments in one area in particular: Davis is the personal punt protector, a role that would possibly go to Brenden Schooler after the rookie filled it in preseason.
Playing next Monday rather than Sunday, the Patriots will have one extra day to get rest before their matchup with the Chicago Bears. They will release their first injury report of the week on Thursday, and it will give us a clearer picture about the statuses of Bourne, Barmore, Davis and the rest of the team.