EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

October 20, 2013

No time to panic about injuries

Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo are done for the year. Tommy Kelly hasn’t been seen in weeks. And Aqib Talib didn’t appear ready for as much as a square dance on Friday, making him at least doubtful for today’s dogfight at the Jets.

In my best Kevin Bacon on the streets of Faber, I will scream at the top of my lungs, “Remain calm! All is well!”

This is no time to panic.

The defense has arrived in recent weeks. Unfortunately, impact players have dropped like flies in the process, leaving the Pats relying on the Chris Joneses and Dane Fletchers of the world.

The Pats’ prime source of rhetoric -- yes, even bigger than “it is what it is” -- New England’s vaunted “Next man up” moniker faces a brutal test today at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey when the Jets host this band of brothers at 1 p.m.

“That’s why we have a team, it’s why we have a full team,” said Bill Belichick this week. “If we ever happen to lose somebody, somebody else has to step up and play.”

All those draft picks from trading down leave the Pats in a position to keep pushing forward.

Are their many teams in the game today that can replace a Mayo with a Dont’a Hightower? Probably not. You’re talking a young, first-round draft pick to step in and make your calls, not some free-agent scrub out of Angelo State.

Same thing in the secondary.

Guys like Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington and Alfonzo Dennard have matured. They’re playing better than they did when Talib arrived last year.

This defense dominated the Saints a week ago. That’s a fact that can’t be lost in the amazing Tom Brady comeback.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Eli, Giants learning new offense Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Longhorns Coach Disses Texas With Compliment - @TheBuzzeronFOX How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam SNC Minute: Phils lose; Lee set to return Eagles less than a week away from training camp Could Cliff Lee's health affect trade value? McCarthy and Stairs break down the Phillies' loss
Boston Sports
Who will Brady turn to if Gronk can’t stay healthy? Gronkowski cleared to participate in Patriots training camp Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Shaughnessy: Dont count out the Sox just yet Blakely: Projecting the Celtics roster Daopolous: How will NFL cracking down on Defensive holding affect games? Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Eli, Giants learning new offense Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Longhorns Coach Disses Texas With Compliment - @TheBuzzeronFOX How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA