Week one the loss was Lawyer Milloy. Week two it was Ted Johnson. Another week and another key loss has hit the New England defense. Outside linebacker Rosevelt Colvin injured a hip in last Sunday's win over the Eagles and will miss an undetermined amount of time, although he will definitely not play this weekend in the Patriots home opener against the Jets, with an injury that is still being evaluated by the New England medical staff.
"There isn't really too much to add on the Rosevelt Colvin situation," Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick said in the opening remarks of his Wednesday morning press conference at Gillette Stadium. "He's still undergoing some tests and trying to get a little more information exactly what is the best thing for him to do and what's the best way to handle his situation. As you know he had some pain in his upper leg after he recovered the fumble in the Philadelphia game. It looks like it is in the hip area, but what the exact time table on it is I just don't know, except he will not play this week. He's out."
From a player's perspective, the loss of Colvin once again means other players will have to step up and fill the void, much as guys have done with the loss of Johnson and Milloy in previous weeks. Willie McGinest had a solid game (3 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery) filling in for Colvin against the Eagles, but replacing the star free agent acquisition on a more regular bases will probably be more than a one man job.
When asked if the linebacking corps was beginning to get stretched a little thing, veteran Roman Phifer answered rather honestly considering the loss of two starters in two weeks.
"It appears to be that way," Phifer said. "But we are going to make do."
Safety Rodney Harrison believes that linebacker is the one position on the Patriots defense that even has a shot at overcoming such significant injuries.
"Basically for us linebacker is probably the position that we have the most depth at," Harrison said. "And I think that was pretty obvious because you brought Rosevelt in, you had [Mike] Vrabel and all those guys have started at one point in time. You have Willie McGinest who's had a long, great career. So if you are going to have any injuries, which I don't even like to say this, but at least we had depth at linebacker."
And Harrison knows that with the injuries up front, the Jets are likely to come in and try to move the ball on the ground despite the team's early-season rushing struggles.
"I'm sure the Jets are going to try to come in and run the ball," Harrison said. "You can't just come out and pass the ball. I think the Jets are going to establish the run. They are a pretty conservative offense, but they have a lot of talented players. With Curtis Martin, everyone is screaming that he lost a step and he's old, but this guy can play. We are not going to sit here and buy into that crap that the media is trying to feed us. This guy can play and we are going to be ready."
The only difference is that some new faces this week, including McGinest and possibly fellow outside linebacker Matt Chatham, will be the ones getting ready for the challenge of stopping a division rival. Considering New England already has a loss in the AFC East, Sunday marks a chance to pull back to a .500 record in the early stages of what will likely be a tight divisional race.
Aside from Colvin the New England injury report consisted of Ted Johnson (foot), who is listed as out, as well as Je'Rod Cherry (leg), Mike Compton (foot), David Givens (leg), Fred McCrary (knee) and Asante Samuel (shoulder) who are all listed as questionable for Sunday's game. … The Jets listed cornerback Donnie Abraham (shoulder) and quarterback Chad Pennington (wrist) as out on Wednesday's injury list. The team also listed wide receiver Wayne Chrebet (knee), linebacker Jason Glenn (ankle) and running back LaMont Jordan (ankle) as probable. … Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for last week's performance against the Eagles. Bruschi had a career-high five passes defensed in the New England 31-10 win, including an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown to cap off the victory. He also tallied four tackles and one sack of Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb. … The Patriots announced the signing of 5-11, 195-pound wide receiver Jamin Elliott to the practice squad on Wednesday. Elliot is a former 2002 sixth-round selection of the Chicago Bears out of the University of Delaware. He played in two games as a rookie for the Bears in 2002, but was released this Aug. 25th as part of the team's 65-man roster cuts. The team had an open spot on the practice squad after guard Russ Hochstein was signed to the active roster for last Sunday's game in Philadelphia.