On April 5th, Jordan Matthews signed a one year deal with the Patriots. He was expected to be a versatile wide receiver who could play on the outside and in the slot. However, he suffered a significant hamstring injury today in practice. It was first reported that the team released Matthews. Just hours later, Field Yates reported that Matthews was placed on IR.
The Thin Get Thinner
The Patriots wide receiving core has been thin throughout the offseason. Danny Amendola signed with the Dolphins and Brandin Cooks was shipped to Los Angeles. Also, Julian Edelman will be suspended for the first four games of the season. Matthews was expected to be the second wideout on the depth chart behind Hogan. Now, guys like Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Braxton Berrios, and Riley McCarron need to step up. Also, Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead will have to be a big part of the offense, not only on the ground but in the passing game.
The Patriots can not afford another injury. Brady does not have as many targets as is, so injuries to Gronk, Hogan, or a running back would be detrimental to the team. When Julian Edelman comes back, he will have to return to old form, but injuries and age put that into question.
Every year, the biggest question mark in terms of health is Rob Gronkowski. He has missed 26 regular season games over his eight-year career, but is arguably the greatest tight end of all time when healthy. A possibility is to sign Eric Decker or Dez Bryant. This could help, but they are both veterans well past there primes.
The Extent of the Injury
There are many types of hamstring injuries, but it’s safe to assume that it was at least a grade three muscle tear because it was described as significant. These can take anywhere from weeks to months to heal. Hamstring injuries can linger and take a long time to heal, but it is unlikely that it would keep him out for the entire season until he was placed on IR. As mentioned, the Patriots receiving core is very thin and they need bodies.
Even though these concerns are lingering, we should still remain confident in the Patriots. Belichick, McDaniels, and Brady are undoubtedly the best coach-coordinator-quarterback combination in the league. You could even argue they are the greatest trio of all time. Tom Brady has been known to make the most of his receivers. He has had success with stiffs such as Austin Collie, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Reche Caldwell.
Bill Belichick is capable of finding a late round draft pick, undrafted player, or free agent turning them into a valuable player. Players such as Jacob Hollister, Cody Hollister, and Braxton Berrios are not being thought of much right now. However, with Belichick coaching and Tom Brady throwing the ball, these names could definitely develop into important pieces on this team. Josh Mcdaniels is one of the best coordinators in the league. He will draw up good game plans that involves all of his players’ strengths.
The bottom line is the Jordan Matthews move to the IR is depleting and unfortunate. But if anyone can find a way around it, it is the Patriots.