The Patriots had some key players go down with injuries in the game earlier tonight, none bigger than LB Jerod Mayo. Mayo left the game in the second quarter with a left knee injury and eventually was carted to the locker room. He never returned to the game. Mayo is a captain on the defense, leads the huddle, and is the team’s top tackler. Losing Mayo for any period of time, even just for next week’s showdown with the New York Jets, would be devastating. Mayo’s helath will be a key storyline throughout the week. A struggling defense certainly can’t stand to lose its leader.
But the injuries didn’t stop there.
DT Kyle Love was injured early in the first quarter, suffering a right ankle injury. He returned to the game in the second half, but his situation will need to be monitored throughout the week to see if he reaggrivated it when he returned to the game. RB Danny Woodhead suffered what appears to be a left ankle injury in the second quarter and did not return to the game. Rookie Shane Vereen took his spot on special teams and with the emergence of rookie Stevan Ridley throughout the game, Woodhead was not pushed back onto the field. Whether he could have or not remains to be seen.
Finally, if those players weren’t enough, LB Rob Ninkovich left the game towards the end of the fourth quarter. Ninkovich’s injury does not appear to be serious, but the team can hardly afford to add anybody else to its injury report. Leigh Bodden, Ras-I Dowling, and Albert Haynesworth already missed the game due to injury, hurting the depth on defense. On the offensive side of the ball, Aaron Hernandez and Sebastian Vollmer missed the game, also due to injuries. The Patriots’ depth is surely being tested early in the season.
How deep will this team have to go in order to field a competitive unit?