Patriots Show Desperation With Injury List

Obviously desperate to gain any edge they can going into this Sunday's game against the Colts, the Patriots issued an injury report that is a sheer mockery of the NFL system...

On Wednesday, it wasn't all that surprising to see New England declare that 17 of the 18 players on their injury list had missed at least a portion of the team's 11-on-11 drills during practice. After all, they had just completed a Monday Night Football game and may have realistically wanted to give their players a breather.

But following Thursday's practice, not only did the Patriots maintain that all 17 of those players once again missed a portion of practice, but they added two more, including rookie running back Laurence Maroney, to their list of players who didn't put in a full practice.

With 19 players all supposedly injured enough that they missed a portion of practice, and three more on the list, how will in the world will they field a team on Sunday? I almost feel sorry for them.

Right.

Actually, the bizarre injury list comes across as a cowardly act of desperation from a team that still has a number of players who proudly stood tall as World Champions in very recent history. What a disgrace to them and to the NFL if this is nothing more than silly gamesmanship to try to find another slight edge. Just get out there and play football without the gimmicks, will you? Then you'll know if you truly had the better team, not just the trickier one.

Undoubtedly, the Patriots at least had all of those players step off the field for a "portion" of the practice for whatever reason so they could honestly note that temporary absence during the practice. But was it due to actual injury problems or just to mask which players truly couldn't practice to gain a pregame information edge?

Well, based on the fact that on Tuesday wide receiver Reche Caldwell -- who has now reportedly missed a portion of two practices -- was a guest on NFL Sirius Radio and never mentioned an injury, it certainly makes the picture murky at best. In fact, Caldwell talked excitedly during the interview about playing the Colts on Sunday.

But maybe he slipped on a bar of soap in the shower or something along those lines after the interview and before Wednesday's practice...who knows?

The Patriots are likely following the letter of the law regarding the NFL's injury report policy, but on the surface it sure doesn't look like they are reflecting the spirit of it. While they have consistently tried to avoid making injury information available to the public, today they took it to a new level. And it deserves an investigation by the NFL if they don't want to see 31 more teams follow suit. The NFL should send a representative to Foxboro to interview these players to see if they really needed to sit out a portion of practice due to an injury, or whether it was part of a planned strategy by the team to mask their true injury situation.

Something needs to be done to make sure that no team is abusing the process, or what's the use of having an injury list process at all? Unfortunately, eliminating the lists is apparently what the Patriots would like to see happen. So the league should take whatever steps necessary to avoid playing into their hands.

For the Colts, the good news on Thursday was that Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders and cornerback Nick Harper both returned to practice. But starting offensive right tackle Ryan Diem was still missing due to an upper arm injury. If he can't start, the Colts could slide guard Jake Scott out to tackle and plug Ryan Lilja and Dylan Gandy in as the starting guards. Scott filled in at right tackle for a few games last year for Diem.

In addition to adding Maroney and Light to their injury report, the Patriots also added backup QB Matt Cassel as probable on their report, ironically with a right shoulder problem, the same problem and status as starter Tom Brady.

Wow, what are the odds of that? Go figure.

Click here to read the latest and ludicrous injury report...




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