Brady has told the media he expects to play in a recent interview, but his playing time will most likely consist of a series or two. Some names with injury concerns that we shouldn’t expect out there today include Alfonzo Dennard, Danny Amendola, Marcus Cannon, Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Gronkowski (obviously) and Justin Francis.
One notable name on that list is wide receiver Danny Amendola, who most wondered if he could stay healthy for an entire season. I think most agree that his ceiling, if healthy, is higher at this point in his career over the long term than Welker’s, but the big question mark has always been health. Amendola returned to practice so some thought we might see him, but the feeling coming from most team reporters is that they will look to avoid a re-injury and will most likely keep him out of tonight’s game altogether. When he and Brady were in the game together they had a connection that was undeniable, which makes playing him in this last of four preseason games less of a priority.
For those of you wondering if the Lions game is how the offense will look minus Danny Amendola, I would tell you to pump the brakes. I don’t expect the Patriots starting offense to be turning the ball over four times again anytime soon. Danny Amendola isn’t responsible for the ball security of every player and they got down to the Lions by mistakes made, not lack of Amendola out there. Sudfeld is a tight end who still would have been out there playing regardless of Amendola’s status. Also, an additional two fumbles from the running backs. Running backs aren’t getting more playing time due to the absences of Amendola.
Like it or not, the Patriots are hinging a lot of what they do on offense on a couple of injury prone players in Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola. The task throughout the season is going to be to keep them healthy enough to be a factor in the playoffs so look for their play to be managed throughout the entire season, not just the preseason.