We now know the Patriots player asked to step up in the absence of Matthew Judon

New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys
New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

The final injury report from the Patriots ahead of their matchup with the Saints on Sunday was a doozy. The team has been dealing with a lengthy list of injured players over the course of the first four games, and it appears more names are being added instead of being removed.

The worst of it all happened last week when both Christian Gonzalez and Matthew Judon left the game with serious injuries that will require surgery. It was what prompted Bill Belichick to make the trade for old friend J.C. Jackson to help fill the void left by the frontrunner for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

They should also be getting even more reinforcements in the secondary this week, as Jonathan Jones is said to be on track to play in week five after being sidelined with an ankle injury since opening weekend.

But with that all squared away, filling the gap left by Judon was noticeably not addressed.

When questioned about who will be the presumed player to step up into that role, Jerod Mayo named rookie Keion White as the one to have an increase of reps this weekend. While acknowledging that it will take multiple guys to bridge the gap in Judon's absence, White was given the nod from the start, and that was cemented on Saturday with the latest moves made to the roster.

With Trey Flowers available to be activated to the 53-man roster after being taken off the PUP list, the Patriots either feel they don't need him on Sunday or he's not 100% ready to go, as only offensive lineman Riley Reiff was moved to the game day roster.

It appears the coaching staff is already confident in who they have, predominantly White, and will continue with that until Flowers is ready to go. Considering he has only played 18 games over the last three years, perhaps that's another reason they don't want to rush him back.

It will be interesting to see how much they increase White's playing time on the field because he's only been on the field for 33.2% of all defensive snaps through the first four games. Entrusting him as one of the best options to make up for the loss of Judon says a lot about how the team feels about him, and hopefully, he is up to the task and performs accordingly.

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