Taylor McCloud — Pats Militia
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 13, 2016
Kinda confusing set of inactives here.
LaAdrian Waddle and Woodrow Hamilton aren’t playing. Two defensive backs, Eric Rowe (hamstring) and Jordan Richards (knee) will not be, either.
Danny Amendola’s out, we knew that’d happen, but here’s where it gets wonky, both D.J. Foster and Griff Whalen are too.
A couple of days ago, I was in the middle of writing that I thought Foster would be able to fill in a little bit for Amendola when the Pats signed Griff Whalen. Right then, I erased what I had and said it would be Whalen subbing in at slot receiver and punt returner. But apparently, that’s not happening. Foster’s inactive, and so is Whalen. Now, neither guy is a huge name and most fans wouldn’t be super shocked that they’re not playing, but I’m not most fans. I think this is a weird move. With both of those guys being inactive, that leaves only three available receivers.
Patriots have three true WRs on the roster today: Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) December 13, 2016
I’m obviously not super concerned about the offense with only three receivers because Dion Lewis and James White can both split out wide, but it’s a different story when it comes to punt returns. After all of the trouble Cyrus Jones has had, I’d be lying if I said I’m not nervous. He can’t really catch a football, and when he does, he tends to fumble it. Neither of those things are what I want to see tonight. And honestly, if he happens to mess up, I’d assume Julian Edelman will take over return duties, which, despite me being excited to see, is not optimal for a team looking to make a Super Bowl run. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
However, while we’re on the topic of special teams, one very important name was omitted from the inactive list: Matthew Slater.