Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
1. Dominique Easley placed on injured reserve
Another year, another season-ending injury for sophomore pro Easley.
Easley appeared to have either aggravated one of his ACL injuries (he tore both in college) or tweaked his knee in another fashion in Week 14. While it was encouraging at first that Easley was seen on the stationary bike instead of heading straight to the locker room, Easley’s season is in fact over.
It’s a shame, too, because Easley was starting to come into his own this season as an athletic interior pass rusher. He wasn’t all that helpful in defending the run, but the Florida product added another layer in the Patriots’ pass rushing complex. Hopefully, he fully recovers over the offseason and starts 2016 fresh and ready to make a run at the Pro Bowl; that’s the direction his career should go.
The loss of Easley isn’t overly costly, however. Malcom Brown, Alan Branch and Akiem Hicks have all been playing outstanding recently, so the interior of the defensive line won’t suffer too much in Easley’s absence. You just have to feel for the guy at this point.