As the week has gone by the always informative New England Patriots are keeping their cards close to their chests as to whether or not Rob Gronkowski will make his season debut on Sunday. What is more apparent is that defensive tackle and Vince Wilfork replacement Tommy Kelly probably will not play on Sunday.
Kelly has missed practice all week and was not present for the teams session on Friday; a key date for players who wish to be active on Sundays. The last we saw of Tommy he sitting on the stationary bike behind the Pats bench sulking to say the least. Whatever happened to his knee wasn't serious enough to keep him from trying to return to action last week against Cincy but it was enough to lead to perhaps Kelly's most infamous moment of his career. An image destined for an eternity of meme's at least wasn't as bad as this "shining" moment down here.
While having to depend on multiple rookie defensive linemen isn't necessarily the best alternative. This week it may just be OK. The Saints are as faaarr from a physical running team as Manti Te'o is from being gay. With only Pierre Thomas and the diminutive Darren Sproles getting touches out of the backfield having Tommy out would actually allow the Patriots to keep speedier sub-package players like Jamie Collins or Logan Ryan on the field to stay with the Saints' versatile play-makers.
Hopefully it will also allow Brandon Spikes even more freedom blitzing up the middle. Say what you want about his game as a whole but when Spikes is barreling into the line of scrimmage he is a devastating force. The Pats could even use Dont'a Hightower in a role like this to make due for the lack of a nose tackle. As the injuries are piling up, the Pats would be best suited to get creative and keeping their defensive play-makers on the field as much as possible. This week against a spread offense like the Saints have lets save Tommy Kelly from anymore potential photo ops.