FOXBORO, Mass. — An off day didn’t help the New England Patriots’ banged-up offense.
The Patriots returned to the practice field Thursday afternoon, and four key offensive players remained sidelined. Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, running back Damien Harris and offensive tackles Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn all were not spotted during the portion of practice reporters were permitted to watch.
Meyers, the Patriots’ No. 1 receiver, took an illegal hit to the head late in last Thursday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills and hasn’t practiced since. Harris (thigh) and Wynn (foot) both missed that game with injuries. Brown played through an illness and appeared visibly sick after the game.
Losing both Wynn and Brown for Monday night’s matchup with the Arizona Cardinals would severely limit the Patriots’ offensive tackle depth. The only other tackles on their 53-man roster are Yodny Cajuste and Conor McDermott, with recently converted tight end Hunter Thedford their lone practice squad option. Veteran Marcus Cannon (concussion) is eligible to return from injured reserve this week but has yet to begin practicing.
Starting right guard Mike Onwenu, who also can play right tackle, did return to practice Thursday after sitting out Tuesday’s session.
Meyers has 50 receptions in 10 games this season. No other Patriots wideout has more than 25. Harris has fallen behind Rhamondre Stevenson in New England’s running back hierarchy but has started eight of the nine games he’s played. The Patriots do not have a viable RB2 with Harris unavailable. Stevenson played all but one offensive snap against Buffalo, with rookie Kevin Harris logging one carry for -1 yard.
On defense, starting cornerback Jalen Mills remained out as he recovers from a groin injury. Mills did not play against Buffalo, and New England’s secondary struggled in his absence, with Jonathan Jones and Jack Jones unable to corral top Bills wideout Stefon Diggs (seven catches, 92 yards, touchdown). That position group will face another challenge this week against a Cardinals team that boasts one elite receiver in DeAndre Hopkins and a high-end No. 2 in Marquise Brown.
Practice squad quarterback Garrett Gilbert rounded out Thursday’s list of practice absences. The Patriots will release their first injury report of Week 14 on Wednesday afternoon.