The Patriots placed eight players on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list Tuesday. Some of the names on the list were expected, some were not. The list includes: Richard Seymour, Troy Brown, Chad Jackson, Eddie Jackson, David Thomas, Mel Mitchell, Kelley Washington and Justise Hairston.
The PUP for training camp is nothing new. The Patriots had ten players on the PUP list at the start of last year's training camp including Seymour and Chad Jackson. It's just a move to say they're not ready to make the active roster and participate in camp practices on Friday. There are two cases here where the PUP list is because of conditioning issues.
Quick Hits of the issues:
DE Richard Seymour: still bothered by the injury that kept him away from passing camp and minicamp. Seymour is dealing with a knee injury.
Injury outlook: Moderate. Anytime a knee injury is involved, it's not a positive sign. Seymour has battled through injuries before, including last year. The injury is not expected to be serious enough to cause him to miss any real time.
Roster Implications: Seymour would be the team's starting defensive end when healthy. If he's unable to go, then expect Jarvis Green to be his immediate replacement and a host of backups to fill in the rotation while Seymour is out.
WR Troy Brown: Knee injury. He had surgery during the off-season and has been recovering since. He spoke about not wanting to return before he was ready, but the team gave him a pass with the move to place him on the PUP.
Injury Outlook: Brown's surgery reportedly went well. It's expected that he'll be ready sometime in the near future (during training camp).
Roster Implications: With all of the receivers on the current roster, Brown doesn't need camp to prove he can make the roster, although he'll tell you he does. He is expected to play a reserve role behind Donte Stallworth, Randy Moss and Wes Welker, so his roster impact should be negligible at receiver. Kevin Faulk and Welker can handle Brown's punt return duties.
WR Chad Jackson: Knee injury (ACL). Blew out his knee against the Colts in the AFCC. Was seen with a big wrap on his leg after the game. Since then, it's been confirmed he had off-season knee surgery to repair the issue. He is currently rehabbing the knee.
Injury Outlook: Jackson's agent says he'll be ready for the start of the regular season, but in all likelihood, Jackson will be on the PUP through the first six weeks of the regular season. The team would then reevaluate his situation.
Roster Implications: Missing the start of another season for Jackson would not be good. Health concerns have limited his time on the field. If he were to miss all of camp and possibly part of the season, then one of the other returning wide receivers from 2006, Jabar Gaffney or Reche Caldwell, would replace him. The Patriots also have four other reserves competing for a roster spot; Kelvin Kight, Bam Childress, Chris Dunlap and C.J. Jones.
CB Eddie Jackson: He suffered a knee injury in December of 2006 while playing for the Miami Dolphins. The injury came at the end of the Dolphins' season so he only missed a little time. He has been rehabbing since. The Patriots signed Jackson in the off-season taking a chance that he might be back in time to play in 2007. If he's not ready, the team can still place him on IR and retain his rights for another year.
Injury Outlook: The timing and extent of Jackson's injury require a lengthy period of recovery which will include part of the regular season. He was not expected back until at least the start of the regular season, if not mid fall. Even then, there is no guarantee Jackson's knee injury will be 100%.
Roster Implications: Jackson is signed through 2008, so if the situation dictates that he remain on PUP at the start of the season, he would be replaced by other reserve defensive backs. His signing was geared more toward building depth in the secondary over time. When healthy, Jackson's speed enabled him to fly to the ball. If he's not on the active roster to start the season, it opens the door for players such as Willie Andrews, Tory James, or even rookie Mike Richardson.
S Mel Mitchell: Tore his biceps in training camp of 2006 and was placed on IR. Mitchell looked fluid and quick in the secondary until he got hurt. He had a chance to unseat one of the other safeties on the roster, which is most likely why the team wanted to stick with him.
Injury Outlook: Mitchell apparently has an Achilles injury now, so his status may be in doubt for the start of the season, if at all.
Roster Implications: Mitchell is signed through 2007, but not beyond. Regardless of his potential, the team would have a difficult time justifying his $700K contract if it appears he won't be available until late in the season. The team signed a number of safeties or players who could play safety. Randall Gay, Chad Scott, Rashad Baker, Artrell Hawkins would be those vying for playing time with Mitchell.
TE David Thomas: Thomas is still nursing a broken foot he suffered during the off-season program (reported in late April). He is expected back for the start of the regular season according to one source. The injury happened early in the off-season and if a normal break, should only require a 8-12 week recovery process. That would put his return sometime during training camp.
Injury Outlook: If Thomas' broken foot is code for a Lizfranc injury (frequently listed as broken foot on injury reports), he could require a more extensive recovery period. Ty Law suffered a Lizfranc injury his final season in New England (2004). He was hobbled by the injury much of the 2005 season when he played for the Jets. Reportedly Law didn't fully regain his playing form until the following year, although his stats indicate otherwise.
Roster Implications: If Thomas were a no-go, then Matt Kranchick, the tight end the Patriots signed during the rash of injuries they had in 2006, would get the call as a reserve. The Patriots have Thomas, Ben Watson, Kyle Brady, Kranchick and TE/FB Garrett Mills on the roster. The team could also re-sign UDFA Jake Nordin who was released this past week.
NOTE: The Patriots run a conditioning test for all players in order to determine if they are in playing shape. If they are unable to pass the test, they are required to retake it until they do pass before they are placed on the active roster for training camp. If they are unable to pass the test, typically they are released. Johnathan Sullivan failed his conditioning test last season. He took it at least once more before he passed it and was activated to the roster. The test is different for each position group, but requires players to complete a series of wind sprints in a set time frame.
WR Kelley Washington: Participated in all drills during passing camp and minicamp in June. Washington has apparently been placed on the PUP due to conditioning (or lack thereof).
Injury Outlook: n/a
Roster Implications: It is difficult to predict if Washington will make the final roster, whether he's in shape or not. The Patriots have been eager to upgrade their receiver corps ever since the disappointing performance in the AFC Playoffs. Washington is tall and he's quick. He could fill a necessary role behind Randy Moss if he can make the roster. If not, then look for Reche Caldwell or Jabar Gaffney to benefit from Washington's absence.
RB Justise Hairston: Hairston completed the team's OTAs, both minicamps as well as passing camp. He was placed on PUP for conditioning issues as well. The rookie running back was off to a poor start at rookie minicamp, getting an earful from position coach Ivan Fears during one of the sessions. A talented back who set school and league rushing records at Central Connecticut State, Hairston had lapses in focus during minicamp. Apparently now he has conditioning issues.
Injury Outlook: n/a
Roster Implications: Hairston is a longshot to make the active roster, and his performance to date hasn't left much of a positive impression. The team is unlikely to carry more than 5 running backs on the active roster, so at this point Hairston is fighting for a spot on the practice squad. The team is set to start the season with Laurence Maroney as the starter with Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris behind him. Heath Evans is expected to make the cut at fullback after re-signing this off-season. Last season's fourth-round pick Garrett Mills is expected to land the final spot. Others competing for a spot are Quinton Smith and Quadtrine Hill.