Patriots Inactives Reaction: Rookie Standout Out With Injury In Week 18

Brenden Schooler is the NFL's second-leading special teams tackler


Jan 8, 2023

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The New England Patriots will be without one of their top-performing rookies for Sunday’s regular-season finale in Buffalo.

And we’re not talking about suspended cornerback Jack Jones.

Undrafted rookie Brenden Schooler, who’s become a weapon on special teams in his first pro season, will not play against the Buffalo Bills after being listed as questionable with a hip injury.

Schooler tested his injury during a pregame workout with strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera, suggesting he was a game-time decision. The athletic Texas product is tied for second in the NFL with 11 solo special teams tackles this season, and special teams captain Matthew Slater said he deserved Pro Bowl consideration.

The Patriots elevated linebacker Calvin Munson from their practice squad for extra help in the kicking game.

New England on Saturday ruled out tight end Jonnu Smith (concussion) and cornerback Jalen Mills (groin). Matt Sokol was elevated from the practice squad to fill Smith’s spot behind starter Hunter Henry.

Rounding out Sunday’s inactive list are cornerback Shaun Wade, safety Joshuah Bledsoe, defensive tackle Sam Roberts and running back Kevin Harris, all of whom are healthy scratches.

The Patriots opted for a shallower cornerback group rather than rostering Wade, who’s played just 18 defensive snaps all season. Jonathan Jones, Marcus Jones, Myles Bryant and Tae Hayes will be tasked with slowing Stefon Diggs and the Bills’ explosive, Josh Allen-led passing attack.

A Patriots win or losses by both Miami and Pittsburgh would clinch a playoff spot for New England. The Bills already have clinched the AFC East title and cannot land the No. 1 seed, but they still have something to play for, as a victory would prevent them from potentially having to travel to Kansas City for the AFC Championship Game.

If Buffalo wins and eventually faces the Chiefs for the AFC title, that game would be played at a neutral site.

Kickoff on Sunday at Highmark Stadium is set for 1 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Previous Article

Jalen Hurts Returns as Eagles Host Giants in Week 18

New England Patriots cornerback Jack Jones
Next Article

Patriots Rumors: Concerning New Detail On Jack Jones Suspension

Picked For You