Patriots gridiron news: Season now rests on the shoulder of Tom Brady

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 5: Quarterback Tom Brady
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 5: Quarterback Tom Brady /

The beating Tom Brady has taken so far has finally led to the New England Patriots quarterback suffering an injury. 

The amount of hits New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has taken so far in the 2017 NFL season has finally taken its toll.

Luckily for the defending Super Bowl champions, it is nothing too serious.  According to various reports, the usually pliable quarterback has suffered a left shoulder AC joint sprain, which is his non-throwing shoulder.

The 40-year-old Brady missed his first practice on Tuesday due to the injury.  Nothing concerning enough to keep him out of Sunday’s matchup against the New York Jets, but enough to place emphasis on how the team protects him going forward.

FOXBORO, MA – OCTOBER 1: Rob Gronkowski
FOXBORO, MA – OCTOBER 1: Rob Gronkowski /

Much of that focus starts with the offensive line.  Brady has been hit a whooping 32 times, including 16 sacks in just five games.  The players along that line has to take responsibility and play better.  That includes and starts with left tackle Nate Solder.

"“We hate to see him get hit,” Solder said, via ESPN.  “Keeping him clean, keeping him upright, that’s our goal every week.”"

Solder and right tackle Marcus Cannon has not played up to par so far this season.  But, it is not all on them.  The tight ends, particularly Dwayne Allen, and the running backs also have to do their job to keep the ageless wonder on his feet.

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Although a minor injury, more big hits could lead to something more serious.  The team does have a quality backup in Jimmy Garoppolo, but Patriots fans don’t want to see him come in a game as a result of Tom Brady being taken away on a stretcher.

Rob Gronkowski injury update 

The good news from practice Tuesday was the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski.

After missing last Thursday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to a mysterious thigh injury, Gronkowski is expected to play this Sunday against the Jets.  His return to the practice field is a good indication of that.

NFL power rankings

This week’s NFL power rankings has the New England Patriots moving up four spots to No. 8.  Their improved defensive effort was enough to halt the panic button for now.

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The Patriots remain the highest ranked AFC East team.  The Buffalo Bills came in at No. 12, the New York Jets moved up a spot to No. 24 and the Miami Dolphins also moved up a couple spots to No. 26.  The unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs remain No. 1.