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Patriots move forward without Poole

The Patriots received more bad news regarding their secondary on Thursday when the team placed cornerback Tyrone Poole on injured reserve, ending his 2005 season.

The Patriots injury-plagued secondary got more bad news on Thursday. Starting cornerback Tyrone Poole was placed on injured reserve, officially ending his 2005 season.

Poole is the third Patriots defensive back to be placed on IR this month, joining cornerback Chad Scott and safety Guss Scott. Add defensive captain Rodney Harrison to the list and that makes four big contributors who are no longer available in the Patriots secondary.

Poole declared himself ready to play two weeks ago but then last week he was seen walking around the Patriots locker room on crutches and wearing a protective boot. Poole told the Boston Herald the injury was more complicated than people thought. He said it wasn't just an ankle injury but another injury on to of that one that was keeping him out of action.

The move to place Poole on IR came as a bit of a surprise. Last week at his press conference, Bill Belichick said Poole was feeling good and despite the fact he was on crutches, didn't suffer any setbacks regarding his ankle injury.

Poole has started 21 of the 22 games he has played in since joining the team as a free agent in 2003. Poole started all 16 games in 2003 and ranked second in the AFC with six interceptions that season. Last year, Poole only played in five games before being placed on IR in December. This season, Poole started at cornerback for the season-opener against Oakland but left the game early with the ankle injury that would eventually sideline him for the rest of the year.

The loss of Poole is a big blow to the Patriots secondary. The ten-year veteran added depth to a defensive backfield that is desperately searching for an identity right now because of all the players out with injuries.

Without Poole and cornerback Randall Gay still listed as questionable with an ankle injury, it looks like the starting corners will remain Asante Samuel and Duane Starks for Sunday night's game with Buffalo. Samuel has played well this year but Starks has been under fire by fans and the media because of the big plays he has given up over the last month.

Starks is also on the injury report, listed as questionable with a thigh injury as is rookie safety James Sanders with an injured ankle. As for the possibilities of seeing Troy Brown at defensive back, he must think he is already a member of the Patriots secondary because Brown is listed as questionable as well with a foot injury.

With all the hype surrounding the possible return of Tedy Bruschi, the big story could be the players who aren't on the field. The Patriots have battled back from injuries before but there comes a point when there are just too many injured players to replace. Only time will tell if the Patriots have reached that point this season or not.

Patriots/Bills connectionsBelichick's defensive gameplan from the Giants Super Bowl XXV win over the Buffalo Bills is permanently on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame…Bills safety Lawyer Milloy was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 1996 draft. Milloy played eight seasons in New England…Don Blackmon, the linebacker coach for the Bills, was also the linebacker coach under Belichick with the Cleveland Browns…Bills linebacker London Fletcher attended John Carroll University along with Patriots quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels and director of pro personnel Nick Caserio…Bills offensive line coach Jim McNally was the offensive line coach for Boston College from 1975-77.

The Patriots have posted 49 wins against the Bills, their most against any opponent…The Patriots are 15-6 in their last 21 meetings with Buffalo…The Patriots and Bills have played 19 games decided by three points or less since 1972…Andre Davis told the media on Friday he is ready to play against the Bills and is excited to get on the field and contribute in any way the team needs him.

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