Taylor McCloud — Pats Militia
Not that this should come as a surprise, but Danny Amendola and Dont’a Hightower missed practice today, their third in a row.
Absent at today's practice was Dont'a Hightower, Danny Amendola, Matthew Slater & Vincent Valentine. Don't except to see them Sunday. pic.twitter.com/IhjfXTkYhi
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) September 15, 2017
As Mark Daniels noted, this pretty much confirms that neither guy will play this weekend. According to Jeff Howe, it’s been at least nine years since a Patriot missed an entire week of practice and played the following Sunday. I wouldn’t expect that to change for Amendola and Hightower, regardless of the current situation at wide receiver and linebacker.
That leaves Bill Belichick in a predicament. Both positions already lacked depth and now he’s got two fewer players to work with.
In the case of Amendola, he was one of only four wideouts on the active roster. Now, because of his concussion and knee injury, the Patriots are down to three. That’s obviously a problem. As I’ve said multiple times, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett are all talented, but at some point it’s about having available bodies. I’d guess guys like James White and Rex Burkhead will see some time in the slot on Sunday, but I could be wrong. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how Belichick & co. handle the absence of yet another wide receiver.
(Not to mention, Danny Amendola is the closest thing this team has to Julian Edelman, along with their best punt returner.)
In the case of Hightower, we already saw what the plan is when he goes down. Cassius Marsh will get a ton of playing time and it will be patchwork beyond him. That’s certainly not a great scenario to find yourself in, especially squaring off against an offense like the Saints’, but it’s what the Patriots have to work with. And even though this group turned in a miserable performance against Alex Smith & the Chiefs, I’m confident they’ll find a way to turn it around on Sunday.
UPDATE: Both Amendola and Hightower have officially been ruled OUT for Sunday’s game in New Orleans.
Patriots rule out WR Danny Amendola (concussion), LB Dont'a Hightower (sprained MCL) for Sunday's game in New Orleans.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 15, 2017