By Gregory Hunt
As the New England Patriots prepare to face the New York Giants Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, the team continues to deal with significant injuries along the offensive line. Last week, in a 27-10 win over the Washington Redskins at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots listed tackle Marcus Cannon and guard Tre’ Jackson as inactive due to injury, leaving the team with only six relatively healthy offensive lineman. This week, Cannon’s toe and Jackson’s knee are still keeping them out out practice, while tackle Sebastian Vollmer is now out of action due to a concussion he suffered against Washington. None of them are likely to play against the Giants, so the Patriots could go into that game with only five active offensive linemen.READ MORE: Tiger Woods To Make Return At PNC Championship
If there is any good news on this front, it’s that guard Ryan Wendell is not listed in this week’s injury report. He missed the first five games of the season due to an unspecified illness, and then he was hobbled by a knee injury not long after he finally returned to the field. Wendell should start against the Giants, as will guard Shaq Mason, who started last week despite a knee injury of his own.
The Patriots have not added any additional offensive linemen to its active roster, so if they go into Sunday with only five such players, look for them to run a lot of sets with multiple tight ends. Rob Gronkowski, who can block almost as well as he can score touchdowns, will play almost every down as usual, while teammates Scott Chandler and Michael Williams will likely take extra snaps. New England could still activate any of the four offensive lineman that are currently on the practice squad, but two of them are rookies (Blaine Clausell and Torrian Willson), while the other two are second-year players (Chris Barker and Keavon Milton).
Elsewhere on offense, wide receivers Julian Edelman (knee) and Keshawn Martin (hamstring) are still banged-up. Both players have had limited participation in practice this week, but Edelman’s injury didn’t keep him off the field against Washington, so he should start again this week. Martin was inactive last week, so his status for Sunday’s game remains to be seen.READ MORE: Ayanna Pressley Pushes To Remove Lauren Boebert From House Committee Assignments After Anti-Muslim Comments
On defense, the biggest name listed is linebacker Jamie Collins, who has missed practice all this week with an illness that also forced him to sit out the game against Washington. The illness is undisclosed, and there’s no word on whether it’s the same illness that befell Wendell and linebacker Rufus Johnson earlier this season.
Also on this week’s list are cornerbacks Justin Coleman (hand) and Duron Harmon (knee). Both players are practicing on a limited basis, but neither of them started against Washington, so their game status is still to be determined. The starting cornerbacks on Sunday with likely be Malcolm Bulter and Logan Ryan, with rookie Justin Coleman playing the nickle. Coleman was inactive for the first two games of the season, but his playing time has increased significantly in the past month.
Limited participation in practice:
Justin Coleman, cornerback (hand)
Julian Edelman, wide receiver (knee)
Duron Harmon, cornerback (knee)
Keshawn Martin, wide receiver (hamstring)
Shaq Mason, guard (knee)
Jabaal Sheard, defensive end (ankle)
Did not practice:
Marcus Cannon, tackle (toe)
Jamie Collins, linebacker (illness)
Tre’ Jackson, offensive guard (knee)
Sebastian Vollmer, tackle (concussion)
Gregory Hunt is a Boston native and a life-long fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. He’s also particularly fond of lacrosse, IndyCar racing and women’s college basketball. He currently works for Examiner.com where he serves as the Senior Manager of Content and Media Access. He also writes for Examiner.com as the New England Patriots Examiner. His work can be found on Examiner.com.