FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) _ Ty Law's foot injury could not have come at a worse time for the New England Patriots.
Coach Bill Belichick confirmed Wednesday that Law will not play Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, and a representative for the Pro Bowl cornerback said he'll miss four to six weeks with a broken bone in his left foot.
That leaves New England without either of its starting cornerbacks against one of the league's top passing attacks. Cornerback Tyrone Poole said Wednesday that, while his injured knee is healing faster than expected, he would also be out against St. Louis.
Law was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday's 34-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he did not return to the game that ended the Patriots' 21-game winning streak.
Ty will be out of the game,'' Belichick said.He definitely won't play.''
Kevin Poston, the brother and business partner of Law's agent, Carl Poston, told The Associated Press that a team doctor diagnosed the injury, but Law will seek a second opinion for the broken bone across the top of his foot.
Law and team management disputed the restructuring of his contract during the offseason. Law called Belichick a liar and said he did not want to play for the team, but the two met over the summer and smoothed things over, with Law even saying he wanted to finish his career with the Patriots.
The injuries to Law and Poole, who has missed three of the last four games, leave the Patriots scrambling to fill holes in the secondary.
Asante Samuel is expected to start at one cornerback slot, but Belichick hasn't decided what to do about the other side. He could move Eugene Wilson from safety and rotate rookies Dexter Reid and Randall Gay into the vacant safety slot, or play Gay as the other cornerback and keep the starting safety combination of Wilson and Rodney Harrison intact.
Gay filled in for Law against Pittsburgh, but he was beaten on a 47-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress on his first series. Reid, a fourth-round pick out of North Carolina, has been used almost exclusively on special teams.
It's not about one player. It's about a group of players,'' said Belichick.There are a number of options, and we'll try and use the one we think is best.''
Even with a healthy secondary, the Patriots would have their hands full with the Rams' offense. St. Louis ranks fifth in the NFL in passing at 264.1 yards per game.
The Rams feature two of the league's top receivers in Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, as well as a versatile running attack. Bruising rookie back Stephen Jackson has bolstered the ground game and provided a nice complement to Pro Bowler Marshall Faulk
Because of last week's bye, St. Louis coach Mike Martz has had two weeks to prepare for New England,
Mike (Martz) just keeps throwing logs on the fire. He's got 10 logs on the fire, and then he'll throw three or four more on there,'' Belichick said.You've got a lot of stuff to cover.''
Despite losing for the first time in more than a year, the Patriots insist they aren't about to deviate from their defensive approach.
Will it be a challenge? Yes,'' Harrison said.But that's what you look forward to playing in the National Football League. Guys have to step up. ... We have to help each other. We have to communicate. We have to be on the same page.''