Patriots Notebook: Injuries Limiting Stars in Practice

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who missed the Tampa Bay game Thursday with a leg injury, was limited in practice Thursday but is expected to suit up Sunday against the New York Jets.

Tom Brady, who was injured his non-throwing shoulder against the Buccaneers, was also limited in practice, but is expected to be ready to go Sunday as well.

“I’m good. I’m not worried about it,” Brady said. “Yeah, I’ll be there Sunday. Don’t worry about that. I’ll be there. I think everybody does [play with injuries and pain]. I mean, there’s a lot of bumps and bruises over the course of a year. So, I’m not concerned.”

The offensive line struggle is real, and it’s scary

Brady has been sacked more time through five games than all of 2016. The offensive line has allowed 16 sacks on the season, three of which have been allowed by veteran Nate Solder, whose below-average play is costing the Patriots in one way or another. Solder has allowed 18 total pressures in just five games. Last season, he only allowed 26 pressures and five sacks over 15 games.

Head coach Bill Belichick spoke on Solder’s stuggles Monday during a conference call.

“I think that overall as a team there are things that we all need to do better; coaching, playing, adjustments and so forth,” he said. “Sometimes we haven’t just executed things the way that we want to do it. There have been a number of reasons for that. Again, all of us can improve and do better. That’s what we’re going to try and do.”

Fans are to wonder if the slow start for Solder might be in connection with the injury that left the starting tackle on the fritz during pre-season.

Brady also came to the defense of his linemen.

“I think those guys have done a great job, I really do,” Brady said. I mean, I think they’re fighting their butts off on every play. The ball’s got to come out [of my hands] on time and find the open guy and cut it loose. You know, we’ve got to do a good job of that at the quarterback position. I love that group up front, we’ve got great tackles, great center, great guards. We’ve been in some competitive games and we’re going to keep fighting.”

Beast of the East

Week 6 of the NFL calendar will mark New England’s first encounter with an AFC East opponent this season. The Patriots will pay a visit to MetLife Stadium Sunday for a 1 p.m. kickoff with a Jets squad that owns the same 3-2 record as New England, and will look to claim the top seed in the AFC East.



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