Just because Julian Edelman is on injured reserve doesn’t mean the wide receiver has disappeared from the locker room.
Edelman will miss his third straight game this weekend after undergoing a knee procedure at the end of October, but the 34-year-old veteran has still played an active role in assisting his younger teammates.
“Julian’s got a wealth of experience and knowledge and a great, tremendous understanding of what we ask of our receivers in our system,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Friday. “He’s spent a lot of time with those guys — he spent a lot of time with them last year — encouraging them, trying to help them mentally, physically, [and] with their routines as professionals.”
Second-year player Jakobi Meyers can attest to that.
“He pretty much gives me the answers to the test, honestly,” Meyers said. “All I have to do is watch him, what he did, and throw in my own little route technique or my own little detail. It works.”
Quarterback Cam Newton has picked up on Edelman’s influence, too.
“[Jakobi’s] learned so much from believing in this system and also from learning from the best to do it, you know, the gritty type of guy in Jules,” Newton said. “[Julian] being accessible to [Jakobi], [Jakobi] watching [Julian] on film, [Jakobi] seeing how [Julian] practices and what not and using him like a vessel, it shows.”
Meyers, who is coming off a career performance against the New York Jets, has been the team’s most-targeted receiver over the past two weeks, hauling in 18 catches for 227 yards. His emergence has coincided with the absences of Edelman and N’Keal Harry, who has missed two straight games with a concussion.
Harry could make his return against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night, after returning to practice in a limited capacity this week. He is officially listed as questionable. Even if Harry can’t go, the Patriots may get some receiving depth from Isaiah Ford, their lone trade deadline acquisition who is eligible to make his debut.
Edelman can be activated to the 53-man roster next week and could return as early as Week 11 against the Houston Texans. Regardless of his availability, McDaniels expressed an appreciation for Edelman’s off-field contributions.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are very unselfish players, willing to give up their time and share their experiences with our young players,” McDaniels said. "Any time you have a team full of guys like that, you have a chance to really rub off on those younger players and help them improve as the season progresses.
“I’m always thankful for those guys. They do a great job of helping us out. They really share our message with the players in their own way. Julian certainly does a great job of that with Jakobi, N’Keal, and the rest of those guys.”
The Patriots made a flurry of roster moves Saturday afternoon.
They activated right guard Jermaine Eluemunor (ankle) off injured reserve, which means he’ll be available to play Sunday night against his former team. Eluemunor was drafted by the Ravens and spent two seasons in Baltimore before getting traded to the Patriots in 2019.
“He’s excited,” said fellow offensive lineman Shaq Mason. “Not just because it’s the Ravens. Just to finally be back healthy and be back on the field.”
New England’s linebacking corps suffered another hit, with Shilique Calhoun (knee) headed to injured reserve. The group, already missing Dont’a Hightower (opt-out) and Brandon Copeland (torn pectoral), could also be without Ja’Whaun Bentley (groin), who is questionable after missing last week’s game.
Given the injuries, rookies Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings may see an increase in snap counts, although it’s more likely Terez Hall will once again step up from the practice squad. Both Hall and Cassh Maluia have been temporarily elevated to the active roster for Sunday’s game.
In his NFL debut against the Jets, Hall, who went undrafted out of Missouri in 2019, out-snapped both Uche and Jennings on defense. He logged six tackles.
“Terez has done a great job,” said inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo. “Any time you get a guy that works that hard, stays in the playbook, stays in the weight room, is always trying to get an edge, and has a chip on his shoulder, wanting to prove everyone wrong, you want those guys.”
The Patriots also released defensive tackle Nick Thurman. If he clears waivers, Thurman will be eligible to return to the practice squad, where he started the season.
In other moves, the team re-signed tight end Paul Quessenberry to the practice squad for his third stint with the organization this year. New tight end Jordan Thomas, who was claimed off waivers Tuesday, was activated to the 53-man roster.
Running back Sony Michel (quadriceps) was not activated off injured reserve, despite returning to practice on Nov. 5. Michel has to be activated by Nov. 26, or he will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.