BOSTON (CBS) — The New England secondary could be in for a long night on Sunday.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore was not at Thursday’s practice as he continues to deal with concussion symptoms, and a second absence of the week puts his status for this weekend’s prime time matchup against the Falcons in doubt. The Patriots were able to survive life without Gilmore last weekend against the Jets, but they’ll have a much tougher time doing so against Atlanta’s potent aerial assault.READ MORE: Wife Of New Bedford Police Sergeant Who Died From COVID-19 Fights For Benefits
Though Gilmore struggled to start the year after signing a five-year, $65 million contract in the offseason, he put together his best game in Week 5’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He limited star receiver Mike Evans to five catches for 89 yards on eight targets that evening, which according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, is when Gilmore initially suffered the concussion.
Fellow corner Eric Rowe also missed Thursday’s practice as he deals with a groin injury that has sidelined him for three of the last four weeks, so the Patriots will likely have only three cornerbacks for Sunday in Malcolm Butler, Jonathan Jones and Johnson Bademosi. That doesn’t bode well in a contest against an offense that is averaging 24.3 points and 258 passing yards per game this season.
The Patriots gave Gilmore a big payday to go toe-to-toe with bigger receivers like Atlanta’s Julio Jones, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be on the field for that matchup on Sunday. That will put further responsibility on the rest of the secondary, which has allowed 300+ passing yards to every quarterback they’ve faced this season.MORE NEWS: Are COVID Tests Accurate For Variants? Dr. Mallika Marshall Answers Your Questions
Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Falcons game on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 5:30pm, with full postgame coverage after the game. You can get your Patriots Sunday started early with Patriots GameDay at 11:30am on WBZ-TV, and tune in to Patriots 5th Quarter for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s postgame press conferences!