In the loss to the Miami Dolphins a few weeks ago, the New England Patriots saw defensive tackle Alan Branch go down. When can they expect him to return?
On Monday Night Football against the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots had defensive tackle Alan Branch go down with an injury. As their big run stuffer in the middle, losing Branch was not a good thing for the Patriots.
Last season, Branch was one of the main reasons why the Patriots were able to have one of the best defenses in the league. Branch’s ability to eat up running lanes in the middle helped the Patriots have a solid defense against the run.
This offseason, the Patriots signed Branch to a new deal, as he was a very valuable part of their team. So far this season, Branch hasn’t played as well as he did last year for the Patriots. After receiving a grade of an 81.9 last season from Pro Football Focus, Branch’s production has clearly slipped this season. In 2017, Branch currently has a grade of a 67.7 from PFF, which ranks him 96th among interior defenders.
Despite him having a down season, Branch is still an important part of the Patriots defense. Against the Steelers, Branch was unable to play with the knee injury. Le’Veon Bell was able to have a monster game against the Patriots, and having Branch would have likely helped against that.
According to Ian Rapoport, Branch will be able to avoid knee surgery, but he will be out for a few weeks.
With just two weeks in the regular season to go, the Patriots will likely be hoping to have Branch ready for the playoffs. With a bye in the first week of the postseason being a real possibility, Branch could have some extra time to heal.
Until Branch is back, the Patriots will be relying on Malcom Brown and Lawerence Guy in the middle. Both Brown and Guy have performed well this season, and the Patriots will need them to continue that, especially against LeSean McCoy and the Bills in Week 16.