Taylor McCloud — Pats Militia
In my 53-man roster breakdown, I wrote that Shea McClellin would be playing more edge this year. That was in part because of the obvious need at the position, but also because of a tweet he sent out the day before.
— Shea McClellin (@mcckshea) September 2, 2017
Unfortunately for me, and Patriots fans alike, we won’t be seeing McClellin on the field for quite some time.
Source: the Patriots are placing LB Shea McClellin on IR. He's been out since early this preseason.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 4, 2017
McClellin’s been dealing with an undisclosed injury for the last couple of weeks, and apparently it’s severe enough to sideline him for the foreseeable future.
The words “injured reserve,” though, do not mean what they used to. In the past, those words were essentially a death sentence for a player’s season. If you heard a guy was headed to the IR, you weren’t happy. Fortunately, things have changed.
In 2012, the NFL implemented a rule which allowed for one player placed on injured reserve to be re-activated after spending eight weeks on the shelf. But, a 2017 modification to the rule allows for two players to be re-activated and a longer period of time for teams to make decisions on their injured players. Consequently, hope remains that we’ll see McClellin back on the field before the end of the season.
In the meantime, the impact of this roster move will be felt in New England. Marquis Flowers, the linebacker acquired from Cincinnati last week, will (hopefully) handle McClellin’s special teams duties. And McClellin’s roster spot will be given to veteran runningback, Brandon Bolden.
With LB Shea McClellin headed to IR, it opens a roster spot for RB Brandon Bolden, who is present at practice today.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 4, 2017
McClellin’s absence on the edge, however, will not be handled with such grace. I’ve previously expressed my concern with the Patriots’ depth at defensive end, and this only worsens the situation. It’ll be interesting to see how the team moves forward from here.