FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots suddenly have depth problems at running back.
Running back Rex Burkhead was listed as a DNP on Wednesday’s injury report because of a concussion. We’ll find out more as the week goes on, but it’s entirely possible he’ll be out for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville.
Burkhead’s injury comes in the wake of a season-ending knee injury to running back Jeremy Hill. If Burkhead is out, expect the Patriots to lean heavily on James White. In addition, newcomer Kenjon Barner could be forced into action, while rookie Sony Michel (knee) may also be pressed into service after missing a good chunk of the summer.
In other injury news, the following players were limited Wednesday: right tackle Marcus Cannon (calf), defensive back Nate Ebner (knee), tight end Jacob Hollister (hamstring) and Michel (knee).
When it came to the rest of the 53-man roster, everyone was present and accounted for at practice Wednesday afternoon, as the Patriots continued preparations for Sunday's game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville. New wide receivers Bennie Fowler (No. 16) and Corey Coleman (10) were present, as well as new running back Barner (41) were all on the field.
One thing worth noting: practice squad receiver Jace Billingsley was not present, but according to reports, there was a new No. 39 on the field. An update should be along shortly.
[caption id="attachment_446703" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Crossen was one of the Practice Players of the Week. (BSJ Photo)[/caption]
Crossen among those who land "Player of the Week" honors
The Patriots announced the following were named Practice Players of the Week: defensive lineman Trent Harris, offensive lineman James Ferentz, cornerback Keion Crossen, defensive lineman Geneo Grissom, defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. and cornerback J.C. Jackson. Based on what we saw last week, it's reasonable to assume Crossen was named because of the job he did providing the defense with a model of what Houston’s Deshaun Watson was going to do on Sunday.
Belichick on 'challenge' of getting new players acclimated to Pats' system
The Patriots coach acknowledged it can be tough going for players who are joining a team during the season. On Wednesday morning, he explained the process that Coleman, Fowler and Barner will go through this week.
“It’s definitely a game of catch-up,” Bill Belichick said. “When players come in at the beginning, they’re able to get a progression of installation, learn from the bottom up and build a foundation and work their way up. Now, it’s more of a game-plan situation. So, we don’t have all of our plays in for this game. We would never do that. But the ones that we’re running this week, those are the ones we’ll focus on and try to catch up on as much as we can. But we have to prioritize what’s going in for this game and what we need for this game.
“We’ll start with that first. It’s a little bit of a backwards way of doing it, but it’s the best way to prepare for a short window than trying to catch up on all of the other things as much as we can, the terminology, all of the fundamental things, things that we’re not going to be doing this week that are important, but we won’t get to all of those things this week. But we’ll try to catch up on those as soon as we can. But that’s a challenge.”