Patriots have options to replace injured LB, Collins
When LB, Jamie Collins injured his thigh in practice on Friday it was yet another blow for New England who were already coming off one of their worst losses in recent memory. On Saturday, further misery for Patriots fans ensued as he was downgraded to being out for today’s game against the Vikings.
While he didn’t play well last week against Miami, having the worst game of his young career with a -2.9 grade, it’s perhaps instructive that his worst three games in run defense have all now come against the Dolphins. He was generally well blocked by linemen climbing to the second level and when he did get beyond them he missed two tackles.
However, there’s no question about his talent and after a slow start last year, from Week 12 on he played the position about as well as anyone including a remarkable +7.0 graded performance against the Colts in the Divisional Playoff.
Interestingly, it may give two players the opportunity to play more natural roles than we have seen so far this year. Dont’a Hightower could come inside where he looks a better fit allowing Chandler Jones to move away from the 5-technique position (where he has looked horribly miscast) to OLB. Finally, Jones’ role on the line might be filled by a combination of Sealver Siliga and Dominique Easley although Easley is still better suited to a 3-technique.
With anyone else the above would be the only option but Bill Belichick has a penchant for different solutions and, long-shot though it is, don’t completely rule out him going back to more of a 4-3 look at times.