September 26, 2021

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New England Patriots/Washington Redskins: What are…

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New England Patriots/Washington Redskins: What are...

The New England Patriots enter Week 5 with several key players listed on the injury report, but the Washington Redskins are even more banged-up.

There’s good news and bad news for the New England Patriots on the injury front heading into Week 5 of the regular season.

The bad news is that the Patriots still have several important players listed on their injury report, as was published after Friday’s practice on the team’s official website.

The good news is that the Redskins might be coming into this game with even more players sitting out due to injury.

While you never like to see anybody get hurt playing a game, the fact of the matter is that football is a contact sport. Moreover, these players are all professionals who are getting paid to play the game they love, and many of them have already become millionaires in the process.

For Washington, eight different names appeared on Friday’s injury report. Of that group, half were already listed as being “out” for Sunday afternoon’s game. The other half were all listed as “questionable,” meaning there’s a 50/50 shot they end up out there on the field in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins do not have any players listed as “doubtful.”

To the surprise of exactly no one, ‘Skins starting tight end Jordan Reed leads the list of players designated “out” with a concussion. A Pro Bowl-caliber offensive weapon when healthy, Reed unfortunately is never healthy. He’s battled numerous concussions throughout his career, as well as frequent hamstring and shoulder problems; to date, Reed has never made it through a full 16-game season in going on seven years as an NFL player.

To make matters worse for Washington, his replacement – veteran tight end Vernon Davis – is also out this week with a concussion. Third-year man (and third-stringer) Jeremy Sprinkle will handle starting tight end duties for Washington, with Jerome Cunningham coming on in two tight end sets.

Former No. 5 overall draft pick Brandon Scherff has also been ruled out for this game with an ankle injury, paving the way for backup Wes Martin to start at right guard. The immediate benefactors for the Patriots figure to be Chase Winovich and Deatrich Wise Jr., both of whom often rush the passer from that side.

Backup linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons is the final Redskins player listed as being “out.” Harvey-Clemons will miss the game with a hamstring injury.

All four players listed as “questionable” for Washington are significant: quarterback Case Keenum (foot), wide receiver Terry McLaurin (hamstring), cornerback Josh Norman (knee), and center Chase Roullier (no reason given).

With Keenum potentially still in a walking boot come gametime, that would mean only rookie Dwayne Haskins Jr. is available to backup Sunday’s starting quarterback, Colt McCoy. McCoy himself will be making his first start since a broken fibula ended his season last December.

McLaurin has been the Redskins’ best offensive weapon through the first quarter of the season. His loss would certainly hamper an already-struggling passing attack; as would the loss of starting center Chase Roullier.

Though Norman’s best days are probably behind him, he’s still the most talented cornerback on the Redskins defense by a mile.

For the Patriots, New England announced five players as being “questionable” for Sunday’s tilt at FedEx Field. The Pats do not have any players listed as “doubtful” or as already being “out” for the game.

Offensively, running back Rex Burkhead is still listed as dealing with a foot injury, and wide receiver Julian Edelman is still battling a chest injury. Both players managed to grit their teeth and suit up despite their respective ailments last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, so there’s a good chance that both will see action again versus the Redskins this weekend.

Hopefully, each is closer to 100% than they were against the Bills, though. Burkhead played sparingly – primarily on special teams – after getting significant reps the first three weeks on offense as both a rusher and as a pass-catcher coming out of the backfield. Edelman also missed several easy completions, leading many to wonder just how bothered he may have been by the injury he sustained against the Jets in Week 3.

Defensively, safety Patrick Chung (heel) joins fellow safety Nate Ebner (groin) and linebacker Dont’a Hightower (shoulder) on the New England injury report. While Ebner managed to play in Buffalo despite his injury (on special teams), Hightower missed the game against the Bills entirely as an inactive. Hopefully all three players will trend enough in the right direction that they’ll be able to play against the Redskins on Sunday.

Next: Is Michael Bennett growing frustrated with his smaller role?

In encouraging developments, defensive end Michael Bennett (shoulder), wide receiver Josh Gordon (knee), and wide receiver/return specialist Gunner Olszewski (hamstring) have all been removed entirely from the Patriots injury report. The healthy return of each player stands to directly benefit the three phases of the New England operation: defense (Bennett), offense (Gordon), and special teams (Olszewski).




New England Patriots/Washington Redskins: What are notable injuries?

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