Last week, the Patriots dropped running back Kenjon Barner even though rookie Sony Michel is still limited in practice with a knee injury. That may indicate that the Pats believe Rex Burkhead will return to action in early December, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes.
Burkhead has not been seen since the third week of the season when he suffered a concussion, but he returned to practice on Nov. 8. Per the league’s IR rules, Burkhead can return to action as early as Dec. 2 against the Vikings.
Michel still figures to be the Patriots’ primary back, but Reiss expects Burkhead to enter the game in every third series. He may also get involved in the passing game after averaging 3.0 catches per game in 2017, though James White will likely lead the charge in that department.
Here’s more from New England:
- After missing three of the past four games with a back injury, tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to play against the Jets after the bye week, sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Unfortunately, back and ankle trouble has hampered Gronk throughout the year. For the most part, however, he’s been productive when on the field. In seven games, Gronk has 29 catches for 448 yards and one touchdown.
- Tom Brady is finally showing signs of his age, as Ben Volin of The Boston Globe writes. The 41-year-old superstar is behind the likes of Mitchell Trubisky and Ryan Fitzpatrick in passer rating, his interception rate is its highest since 2011, and he’s struggling mightily against the blitz. Of course, the Patriots would be well-protected against Brady’s decline if they still had Jimmy Garoppolo as his backup. On the plus side, the Patriots did not tie up cap space with a huge extension for the young QB and the trade – in a roundabout way – netted them second-round cornerback Duke Dawson and the Bears’ second-round pick in 2019.