Aside from the maybe-retiring Derrick Burgess and the unsigned Logan Mankins, an additional 10 players missed practice this morning with various unknown ailments. Teams do not have to report injuries during training camp. Some players were spotted on the field in shorts and shirts doing conditioning and rehab work while others were not on the field at all. Here is a breakdown of who’s injured and whether they’re visible or MIA:
In Shorts and Shirts: Defensive backs Jonathon Wilhite and Terrence Johnson, defensive linemen Mike Wright (projected starter at RE) and Ron Brace, and running back Thomas Clayton.
MIA: Tackle/Guard Nick Kaczur (projected starter in place of Logan Mankins), defensive lineman Ty Warren (projected starter at LE), wide receiver Matthew Slater, safety Bret Lockett, and linebacker Gary Guyton.
As you can see, the Patriots’ depth on the defensive line is being tested with the projected starters at right and left defensive end both out of practice with injuries. The team has moved Vince Wilfork and Gerard Warren around the line from nose tackle to the end positions for depth experience. With left guard already a little thin with Logan Mankins unsigned and the top candidate to replace him, Kaczur, on the sidelines, the depth at that position is being tested. Dan Connolly and Rich Ohrnberger have switched in and out with the starters at that position. Gary Guyton injured what appeared to be his knee last night at practice and while it didn’t seem serious at the time, it was serious enough to keep him away from the practice field this morning. If Guyton has suffered an injury that will keep him out for an extended period of time, he will most certainly lose his starting job to either Tyrone McKenzie or Brandon Spikes. These two players likely will overtake him at some point no matter what, but Guyton’s injury will expedite the process.
Bumps and bruises are commonplace in training camp, and Belichick’s padded two-a-day practices certainly do not dial down the physicality. Hopefully, these players can make their way back to the practice field sooner rather than later to get ready for the season.
In other news, the Patriots filled their last two roster spots with depth players. They announced this morning the signing of WR Rod Owens and TE Carson Butler. Both players are long shots to make the final roster. WR is already a stacked position so I don’t see the point in signing another one, especially with the depth at outside linebacker paper thin. No word yet on the potential signing of Adewale Ogunleye, which may hinge on whether Burgess retires or not. I would sign him whether Burgess retires or not because of the depth (and talent) concerns there. Perhaps we’ll see some movement there before the day is done.