Brandon Browner will be eligible to play once again this week for the New England Patriots, but it seems like there is a chance he won’t suit up on Sunday.
According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Browner is struggling to grasp the Pats’ defensive playbook. That is why he missed last week’s contest against Cincinnati.
"Cornerback Brandon Browner, who was absent from practice today, was not activated Sunday against the Bengals because he has struggled to grasp the Patriots defensive system, according to a source.Browner opened the season with a four-game suspension and was eligible to play his first game in Week 5. It was curious why Bill Belichick opted against activating him, though Alfonzo Dennard played well in the Pats’ 43-17 victory. Now, the answer has become clear."
If this is in fact true, this is bad news for New England. Obviously their defense will be fine without Browner for a few more weeks, but the longer they delay his return, the harder it will be for him to get assimilated into this scheme.
Now with that said, the Patriots’ practice report was later released, and it listed Browner with an ankle injury. This is the first we have heard of an injury for Browner, so we can only assume he suffered it in yesterday’s session. I honestly hope the reason he missed practice was indeed the injury, because Pats fans know all too well that if a player struggles to learn the system early, that could be bad news in the long-run.
Here is the full practice report, as per Jeff Howe:
"Did not participate:CB Brandon Browner (ankle)DL Dominique Easley (shoulder, knee)S Nate Ebner (finger)OL Cameron Fleming (finger)Limited:LB Jamie Collins (thigh)LB Dont’a Hightower (knee)DE Chandler Jones (shoulder)S Devin McCourty (rib)WR Matthew Slater (shoulder)C Bryan Stork (head)"
Dominique Easley also missed practice because of his recent shoulder issue, and it looks like he will be a game-time decision on Sunday. Center Bryan Stork was also added to the report with a head injury, which I hope is minor, because his play in the center of that offensive line is one of the biggest reasons why the played so well on Sunday. They need to keep that group together going forward.