The New England Patriots have placed second-year cornerback Ras-I Dowling on the injured reserve after the tall corner injured his quadriceps last week against the New York Jets. Dowling was able to play in 22 snaps before leaving the game. Defensive end Trevor Scott was also injured in that game, and he was ruled out for the Patriots upcoming game against the St. Louis Rams.
Dowling will be on the injured reserve for the second straight season, but I don’t see how he is expendable in the Pats future at all. He has the potential to be a solid coverage corner who can hang with a TE or bigger WR, and that still has value for the Pats even with Tavon Wilson able to play in that “money” role. Talented players like Dowling should be given at least three seasons, and the problem with Dowling is just unrelated health problems as opposed to any recurring issue that makes him expendable. He’s going to be in some sort of a roster battle in 2013, but I would be surprised if he isn’t part of the team’s future plans.
That’s especially true given the play of Kyle Arrington, who has allowed the highest QB Rating against of all qualified corners. He’s a terrible coverage corner and is far more expendable than Dowling, because the Patriots already have playmaking corners in Sterling Moore and, at times, Devin McCourty.
On a side note, please don’t blame D-Mac for the poor play of the secondary. The pass defense has been poor due to the lack of health and consistency at the safety position (terrible deep coverage is a huge problem), and the fact that Arrington has been as bad as I’ve seen any corner play. And that includes the Carolina Panthers corners in the absence of Chris Gamble (aside from Captain Munnerlyn, he’s been solid).
It’s just tough luck for Dowling and the Patriots at this point, and the roster looks even more depleted going into Sunday’s game. Safeties Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung are among those who will be absent tomorrow, and it’s a good thing the Rams will presumably be without Danny Amendola. And, of course, it’s a good thing the Patriots are only playing the Rams.
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