New England Patriots quarterback Tom Bradywas back at practice yesterday, and the knee injury he sustained on Wednesday was very minor indeed. Brady could easily play in today’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and I would actually be surprised if he was held out. I bet Brady wants to get every rep he can with his rookie receivers, especially when it comes in actual game situations. Based on a quote I read from left guard Logan Mankins, it looks like Brady is a full go and won’t be held back.
ESPN’s Ed Werder reports that Brady only has a bruised knee, and he also added what we know: Brady wasn’t limited in practice yesterday and looked excellent. This minor knee injury isn’t limiting Brady in any way, and all the new information makes me believe that it’s perfectly fine to play Brady in light of an injury that is clearly not an issue going forward.
What is an issue is the competition at tight end, and it turns into a “battle for the starting job” if Rob Gronkowski is on the PUP list to a “battle for a roster spot” if Gronk is able to start the season. In the latter case, it looks like Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells would be the ones fighting for the fourth tight end spot on the roster, and it seems like the Boston Globe agrees.
Zach Sudfeld is safe due to the upside he provides and his ability as a pass-catcher combined with his quickness, while Michael Hoomanawanui is safe due to his ability to be an H-Back, great blocking, and underrated pass-catching. As for Fells, he is owed a solid $1.25 million next season, and money has always been the main thing against Fells. He’s also the worst pass-catcher out of the bunch (though he isn’t terrible in that regard), and his blocking probably won’t be enough to save him.
What is going against Ballard in this likely competition against Fells is his slow recovery from his knee injury, but I don’t view that as a deal-breaker for Ballard. It prevents him from being a lock to the roster, but Ballard has enough pass-catching ability and upside to be viewed as the better option over Fells.