Patriots tied for NFL high with 9 players placed on injured reserve – New England Patriots Blog- ESPN

1. The Patriots have placed nine players on injured reserve since the start of training camp, which sparks a few questions: How does that compare to other teams across the NFL, and to the team’s most recent years? A torn Achilles wiped out the rookie season of Isaiah Wynn, who is just one of several New England players on IR. Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

1b. With the Patriots placing Burkhead and Bentley on injured reserve, it’s obvious what the team loses on offense and defense, but not to be overlooked, there is a significant trickle-down effect on special teams. Both play on the punt protection/coverage unit, so that’s a double hit for special-teams coach Joe Judge, and here’s why that is a particularly big deal this week: Since Darren Rizzi was promoted to Dolphins special-teams coordinator in 2011, no team has blocked more punts than Miami over that span (10).

3a. When Chris Gronkowski talked on sports radio WEEI about why his brother Rob stayed away from the Patriots this offseason — in part because he wanted to be paid like a top tight end — I felt he left out one crucial part of the equation. In 2012, with Gronkowski entering his third season in the NFL, agent Drew Rosenhaus negotiated a seven-year extension for Gronkowski with the Patriots. In doing so, Rosenhaus and Gronkowski essentially agreed to give up hitting unrestricted free agency in Gronkowski’s prime years. I never question a player for choosing immediate financial security in such a violent game, but making that decision meant Rosenhaus and Gronkowski gave up the chance to hit the financial bonanza as an unrestricted free agent. No fair discussion of Gronkowski’s contract status should overlook that point.

3b. One other point on Gronkowski and a possible offseason trade to Detroit: I thought Chris Gronkowski added context to that trade possibility in his WEEI interview, pointing out how there hadn’t been much communication between Gronkowski and the Patriots in the offseason prior to him being informed of the possibility of a trade. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what sparked the trade discussions, and I’d be curious to know one more nugget of information: Would the Patriots have really traded Gronkowski, or were they using the possibility of a trade to re-ignite communication with him to gauge if he was truly on board?

4. Bills linebacker Matt Milano, who won the AFC Defensive Player of the Week award for playing a key role in Buffalo’s upset victory over the Vikings last Sunday, was selected with the fifth-round pick acquired when the Patriots signed restricted free-agent running back Mike Gillislee in the 2017 offseason. That’s a good example of how a team successfully replenishes a lost asset and comes out better for it in the end. The Bills haven’t had much success against the Patriots in the Bill Belichick era, but that move has the early look of a decisive victory. Gillislee, of course, lasted one year with the Patriots and never emerged as a consistent contributor.

5. Third-year Dolphins coach Adam Gase has given receiver Danny Amendola a veteran’s day off from practice each week, a decision designed to help Amendola preserve himself over the long haul of the season. When Amendola considers some of the differences between his time with the Patriots and Dolphins, that one is probably near the top of the list. As Belichick said at the Super Bowl parade in February 2017, there are no days off in New England.

6. Thoughts go out to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for a successful surgery and rehab after he tore his ACL last Sunday. No one could have predicted such an injury — it can happen to anyone on any play — but my first thought when watching the play was that it reminded me of how Garoppolo was injured in New England, in the sense that he seemed to be exposing himself to unnecessary risk. There is something to be said for a quarterback knowing when the journey is over and to live for the next play when the risk outweighs the potential reward. So just as I did when Garoppolo was traded, and even before that, I view that as the only real question surrounding Garoppolo’s otherwise bright future: Will he be durable enough, and learn to better limit his exposure to unnecessary risk?

7. Patriots special-teams captain Matthew Slater and former Patriot and current Dolphin Brandon Bolden are best friends, so it’s no surprise that they’ve spent the week texting back and forth with each other. When they were teammates and next-door neighbors in the locker room from 2012-17, they often talked about what it would be like to face each other, and now they‘ll get to find out Sunday. Bolden, for his part, used the word "surreal" to describe his feelings.

8. One could excuse Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke if he experiences déjà vu this week. Burke was Bengals linebackers coach in 2014, which meant he was on the sideline for the “On to Cincinnati” game — in which the Patriots were being counted out by many in the media after a brutal prime-time road loss to the Chiefs before answering the critics in a decisive 43-17 home victory over the Bengals. This season, the Patriots are coming off a bad prime-time road loss to the Lions, with many questioning them again. Will history repeat itself with a decisive “On to Miami” home victory? Burke, of Hudson, Massachusetts, is naturally fighting against it.