Dont’a Hightower was asked Tuesday if the Patriots linebackers felt as though the group had good depth entering the season.
“We all kind of felt like it was,” Hightower said. “I guess we’re kind of thinning out.”
Run-stuffing linebacker Brandon Spikes was the latest Patriot to hit injured reserve when the team ended his season Monday because of a knee injury, and hardly a teammate batted an eye when the news was announced.
No doubt, Spikes’s teammates will miss him on the field (he’s their third-leading tackler) and off it (he’s one of the emotional leaders in position meetings). But he’s far from the first key starter to go down this season, which has been defined by the Patriots’ uncommon ability to overcome injuries and keep rolling to a 12-4 record and a first-round bye.
Injuries are common throughout the NFL, but what the Patriots have suffered borders on the absurd. Six key starters are gone: Vince Wilfork, Rob Gronkowski, Jerod Mayo, Sebastian Vollmer, Tommy Kelly, and Spikes.
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