Patriots gridiron news: Tom Brady cautious of Chargers pass rush

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 22: Tom Brady /

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has taken quite a few hits this season and that trend could continue Sunday against the Chargers.

The New England Patriots have done a much better job of protecting Tom Brady over the last couple of weeks.  That trend will have to continue this Sunday as the team takes on a good Los Angeles Chargers pass rush unit.

In facing a group good at getting after the quarterback, Brady knows he will have to get the ball out quick and recognize blitzes.  He knows if he doesn’t, it could be a long day on Sunday and he will go into the bye week nursing some bruises.  He is especially aware of 2016 top 3 pick Joey Bosa.

The defensive end has already racked up 7.5 sacks this season and will certainly look to add Brady to that list.

"“Definitely [Joey] Bosa and [Melvin] Ingram and they’ve got a really good group of pass rushers,” Brady said Wednesday.  “They get to the quarterback and they do it a variety of different ways and some of its blitz but a lot of it is just beating matchups and those guys are very good one-on-one and it’s a big challenge for our offensive line.  We’ve faced a lot of good pass rushers and it seems like we say that every week, ‘man, this team’s got a good rush, they’re coming after us’ and this is another team that really has it.”"

In limiting that pass rush, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will have to continue to get good production out of their running game.  Staying out of third-and-long situations will keep the Chargers from pinning their ears back.  It also means establishing a short passing game to get the ball out of Brady’s hands quicker.

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That could mean a lot of James White and Rex Burkhead utilized in the passing game.

Trevor Reilly gets his chance

On Wednesday, the New England Patriots announced a series of moves including the promotion of linebacker Trevor Reilly to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.

The 29-year-old linebacker is a former seventh round pick who has made a couple of stops to rival AFC East teams.  He was originally drafted by the New York Jets and begin this season on the Miami Dolphins practice squad.

He will add depth at the linebacker position and should see valuable time in special teams.  To make room for Reilly, the team has placed LB Harvey Langi on the Reserve/Non-Football injury list.

News not good for Dont’a Hightower

Now that the defense has finally found some sort of identity, linebacker Dont’a Hightower is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers and possibly more time.

Hightower, who has certainly established his reputation as injury-prone, suffered a shoulder injury in last Sunday night’s victory over the Atlanta Falcons.  While the extent of the injury is still unknown, the fact that he has already been listed as out for this Sunday means it is more serious than initially expected.

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Hightower’s unavailability should mean more playing time for veteran linebacker David Harris.  This is the very reason he was signed.