FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Even though he wasn't listed on the injury report this week, RB James White will not suit up against the Jets today. According to an ESPN report, White is being excused to be with his wife as she gives birth to their child.
New England is otherwise in good shape at the tailback position, so, White's temporary absence from the lineup shouldn't cause the Patriots too much difficulty today. With White out, we could get our first sighting of rookie draft choice Damien Harris, who's been a healthy scratch (not listed on the injury report) the first two weeks of the regular season.
However, fullback James Develin won't be in uniform today either. He was ruled out on Friday with what's being listed as a neck injury suffered last week at Miami. Develin briefly exited that game to be evaluated inside the team's pop-up medical tent behind the bench, but later returned to and finished the Dolphins contest. Yet, he was held out of all three practices this week back in Foxborough.
As a result, International Player Pathway program participant Jakob Johnson (Stuttgart, Germany) has been promoted from the practice squad and will be available to the team versus New York. Johnson had a solid summer, but this is the first high-profile action he's faced. How the Patriots utilize him will be worth watching.
Some good news on the offensive line, it would appear, as right tackle Marcus Cannon is active and should be back at his normal spot. He was a game-time decision last week in Miami after injuring his left shoulder late versus Pittsburgh in Week 1. It's possible that, with left tackle Isaiah Wynn on IR as of this past week (right foot sustained at Miami), Cannon could slide over to the left side, but if not, expect Marshall Newhouse to step in as he did a week earlier when Wynn went down.
Backup Korey Cunningham, who filled in for Cannon after Newhouse moved from right tackle to left during the Dolphins game, is among the healthy scratches today. In addition, new backup offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch dealt with a calf issue this past week and will be sidelined today.
Safety/special teams contributor Nate Ebner, a Saturday afternoon addition to the injury report with a groin issue, had a pre-game evaluation on the field a couple hours before kickoff. Apparently, he isn't fit enough to play today. Special teams coordinator Joe Judge will have to find other players to make up for Ebner's loss on the core special teams units today.
Meanwhile, TE Matt LaCosse, who continues to struggle with an ankle injury that's lingered since early in the preseason, is out today. That leaves only second-year man Ryan Izzo at the position, and he's not exactly 100-percent. Izzo came down with a calf injury during Friday's practice, which limited his activity then. He was also a game-time decision this morning, so, it will be interesting to see how much he'll be able to offer this afternoon.
LB Shilique Calhoun did not participate in practice all week, although his absence was not injury-related. He'll not take part in today's game, but the Patriots are not lacking for depth at his spot.
Aside from starting QB Sam Darnold, New York will be minus one of its best defensive players today in LB C.J. Mosley. A groin problem kept him out of practices all this past week. Linebacker depth for the Jets is even thinner with the deactivation of starter Jordan Jenkins, so, the Patriots could look to run the ball more to exploit this potential weakness.