It was reported earlier that cornerback Alfonzo Dennard missed today’s practice with a knee injury. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald has now reported that he will not be available for the New England Patriots this Sunday against the Panthers.
As I briefly noted here, Dennard being out in this game is not the end of the world for New England. While he will be missed, I would much rather have him miss this week’s game against the 28th ranked passing offense, rather than miss next week’s game versus the best offense in the world. If Aqib Talib is able to go, the combination of him, Kyle Arrington, and Logan Ryan should be able to handle the outside receivers of Carolina, allowing Dennard to heal up in time for next weeks’ clash with Denver.
The worst case scenario in all of this, is if Dennard has a serious injury, that would cause him to miss extended time as we move towards the conclusion of the regular season. He is an extremely talented cornerback, with some of the best man coverage skills that I have seen in the last couple of years. The Patriots can’t afford to lose him long term, as that would devastate an already depleted defensive unit.