Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Patriots Roster Move Suggests Polarizing WR Will Be Inactive Vs. Bills

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The New England Patriots announced their practice roster on Friday, and it could be a clue to the team’s upcoming list of inactive players ahead of their playoff fight against the Buffalo Bills.

Here’s a look at the Patriots practice team call-ups, according to ESPN’s Field Yates:

While Ekuale and both cornerbacks will have roles to play for the Patriots on Saturday, the most interesting call is WR Kristian Wilkerson. The last time he was called up was week 17 and Wilkerson capitalized on his opportunity.

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He played 60 snaps from scrimmage, had 8 goals, caught 4 receptions for 42 yards, and had 2 TDs in the Patriots’ 50-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. It looked like it could be a standout performance for Wilkerson, leading to him contributing regularly to the team’s offense. Unfortunately, Wilkerson was not active in the season finale loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Wilkerson will have his chance to shine on one of the biggest stages the NFL has to offer, but at what price for one of his teammates?

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The last time Wilkerson was active, former first-round pick N’Keal Harry was a healthy scratch for the game. Grunt Talks’ Bobby Thompson thinks something similar may be in the works.

Harry returned to the lineup against the Dolphins but was ineffective. He played with just 12 snaps, which accounted for 19% of offensive plays. Harry had a goal and no receptions. Bill Belichick will always play the guys who give him the best odds of winning each week.

It’s unfortunate that Harry isn’t in the playoffs after another disappointing season. If the Patriots don’t beat the Bills on Saturday — or even if they do — Harry could have played his last game in a Patriots uniform.

While he’s technically signed for the 2022 season, Harry appears to be a prime contender for a trade or release.

Slow starts have been the death of the Patriots this season. The team is 2-6 if they didn’t score in the first quarter. New England’s offense, special teams or defense must bring the team into the game early. Maybe it will serve to inspire some confidence for the rest of the game.

Like most teams, Turnover kill the Patriots. You have to take care of the football. If they don’t, they’ll fall behind, and this team isn’t designed to make up for deficiencies. New England is 2-7 if they flip the ball 2 or more times. This falls to Mac Jones and the running backs to ensure ball security.

The key to the Patriots attack is football. Jones needs to make a few plays, but their effectiveness lies in the base game. New England is 8-3 when they’re piling 125 yards or more on the ground. That includes 149 yards on the ground against the Bills in the 14-10 win in Week 13.

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The key to the Patriots attack is football. Jones needs to make a few plays, but their effectiveness lies in the base game. New England is 8-3 when they’re piling 125 yards or more on the ground. That includes 149 yards on the ground against the Bills in the 14-10 win in Week 13.

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