The New England Patriots came into yesterday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts beat-up at receiver, as Josh Boyce was already placed on the injured reserve and Aaron Dobson was ruled out after aggravating a foot sprain in Week 17. Dobson was the only player to miss practice, and he didn’t practice all week. His absence made Kenbrell Thompkins the team’s starting “X” receiver for last night’s game, but Thompkins was also bounced out of the contest with an injury.
The rookie out of Cincinnati left the game in the third quarter with a head injury and was unable to return, leaving his status in some doubt for the team’s AFC Championship Game contest next week against either the Denver Broncos or San Diego Chargers. The Patriots really need Thompkins or Dobson to be healthy next week, and my guess is that will we see one of those guys out there; it would be doubtful and a crushing blow for both to be out.
Dobson has been the better player this season than Thompkins, but both guys are decent “X” receivers as rookies and missing both would force Austin Collie to play more and likely give Danny Amendola snaps as the “X”. That would greatly hurt the flexibility of the Patriots offense and their ability to go deep, but, as Amendola showed us last night and multiple times against the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this year, he has enough long speed to go deep- ditto to Julian Edelman. The thing is, neither Edelman nor Amendola are tall, nor is it ideal to play them on the outside, especially with an impending shootout on the horizon if Denver prevails.
Keep a close eye on all news relating to Thompkins’s injury as well as Dobson’s practice status, since these are two key injuries to watch for next week.