New England Patriots: Alfonzo Dennard, Julian Edelman on Mend


Nov 18, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) returns a punt for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

As many Patriots fans know, CB Alfonzo Dennard injured his shoulder/collarbone during OTA’s last week badly enough that he had to be carted off the field. This would be a cause to worry because a significant absence for Dennard would be a huge blow to the Patriots’ secondary, the Achilles’ heel for the Pats the last few seasons. Kyle Arrington is only effective in the slot and while Ras-I Dowling has turned heads at OTAs, his injuries have kept him off the field for most of his Patriots career. There is no certainty that he will remain healthy long enough to make an impact during the regular season. A tweet by ESPN’s Mike Reiss earlier today, however, was able to put some worry to rest about Dennard’s health:

While Dennard clearly is not in perfect health, there is good reason to believe that he will be ready to open the season and perhaps even participate in actual minicamp activity. Dennard finished his rookie year with 35 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 3 picks in 12 games.

Another sign of hope from the injury front concerns WR Julian Edelman. A promising receiver and personal favorite of mine, Edelman, has finally shed his walking boot and participated in some minor activity at minicamp today, as per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. According to him and Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, Edelman was able to catch short passes on the field, mostly while standing still, for about 20 minutes. He also participated in some light jogging and caught passes while a trainer was trying to distract him with a towel, which forced him to move his body and make more challenging catches.

While this development from Edelman, who injured his foot towards the end of last season and was placed on IR, may not seem significant, he is one of the few familiar targets for Tom Brady who is surrounded largely by a cast of unknowns at the receiver position. If he can remain healthy, Edelman could be a significant contributor for the Patriots this season. Before he was sidelined with his injury last season, Edelman recorded 21 receptions, 235 yards, and 3 TDs in only 9 games.