Mon, 18 Jan 2021

Patriots Unfiltered Q&A: Which players on IR might return

New England Patriots
03 Dec 2020, 19:34 GMT+10

Megan O'Brien

What players on IR/PUP can we expect to return this year? Miguel

Julian Edelman is the player that people seem most intrigued by. While Edelman has not returned to the practice field yet, Coach Belichick said last week that the wide receiver is making good progress. Belichick also added that it would take a lot for him to rule Edelman out. However, Edelman was put on the COVID-19 list this week. While this doesn't necessarily mean that Edelman has the virus, it does present more questions on if and when he will be available to return. Three other players currently on IR that could return this year are left tackle Isaiah Wynn and tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene. Asiasi was out at practice last week which starts the clock on his return. Megan O'Brien

Of all of the players who opted out this year, who is most likely to lose their position on the team in 2021? Joel Shapiro

Marcus Cannon seems to be the obvious answer here. The Patriots offensive line has played solid throughout the season. Plus, the addition of rookie Michael Onwenu gives the Patriots a more affordable option at guard. The health of Patrick Chung is something to keep in mind as well. When the Patriots selected Kyle Dugger in the second round of the 2020 draft, it seemed that the safety would eventually fit into the Chung role. Chung is still under contract in 2021, but at 33-years-old, you have to wonder if age and health will play a factor in his decision to return or retire. Megan O'Brien

Why aren't Isaiah Zuber and JJ Taylor getting more playing time? In limited carries, they've looked speedy. Tucker Con

JJ Taylor is the more interesting question of the two players listed. In limited opportunities, he's flashed. His lack of playing time is likely due to the fact that the Patriots have solid depth at the running back position and aren't ready to give up on first round pick Sony Michel just yet. Taylor could be experiencing a "rookie redshirt" season. Depending on Michel's health and production, we could see Taylor more towards the end of the season, and if we don't, all eyes will be on the running back in training camp next season. Megan O'Brien

Cam Newton has been here 11 weeks and still looks uncomfortable and indecisive in the pocket. When will the Patriots turn it over to Stidham? David Phillips

This week, the entire mailbag was filled with this exact question. After listening to Coach Belichick and Coach McDaniels this week, it's clear that Cam Newton will remain the starting quarterback for the Patriots for the rest of the season. Now, perhaps that changes if the Patriots are completely eliminated from playoff contention, but right now, Newton is the guy. While Newton has been inconsistent and underwhelming at times this season, by this time, the coaching staff knows what they have in Jarrett Stidham, and it's not better than Newton. Megan O'Brien

After watching another unproductive game by N'Keal Harry, I have a question regarding the Patriots draft evaluation process. Is there a specific individual who evaluates the draft eligible receivers? It's just difficult to comprehend how Harry could be at the top of a team's receiver draft board when Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown and DK Metcalf are in the same draft class. Gary Madera

In fairness to the Patriots, N'Keal Harry was listed as one of the top five receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft. It is frustrating because, now, Harry is not even a top receiver on this Patriots team. Whether it's due to injuries or physical ability, Harry has not performed. Unless something drastically changes, it won't be surprising if Harry doesn't make it through training camp next season. Megan O'Brien

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