Recapping timeline of Stephon Gilmore being sidelined with concussion

Every Saturday, some of the hot topics surrounding the New England Patriots are explored.

When Stephon Gilmore was ruled out for last Sunday's victory over the Jets, ESPN's Josina Anderson reported that Gilmore had banged heads with Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in Week 5 and had been experiencing headaches since that time. Gilmore had been a full participant in practice in the four workouts leading up to the Jets game, according to the Patriots, but based on the timeline, it seems the effects intensified late that week. That might be when he reported feeling concussion-type symptoms. Gilmore was in the locker room Friday, which was an indication he is working through what can often be lingering effects of these types of injuries.

My sense is that the more likely scenario would be a promotion for a player on the practice squad, such as Ryan Lewis. Leon Hall hasn't played in a game this season, he's 32, and the idea that he could come to New England and help solidify some of its issues at cornerback seems like a long shot to me at this time.

There have been times this season when both Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung have had cornerback-type responsibilities in certain situations, with Duron Harmon patrolling things deeper down the field at safety. That is most likely to happen in substitution packages more than the base defense. In the Tampa game, for example, Chung went from covering tight end Cameron Brate on one play to wide receiver Adam Humphries on another. That flexibility is definitely something to factor into the mix when considering how the Patriots will account for their run of injuries at corner.

Jon, the Patriots have had some quick scores this season, but I think the main reason they are the first team to see an opposing quarterback total 300 passing yards or more in six consecutive games is because of the inability to stop the big play. The Patriots have allowed 26 passing plays of 20 yards or more this season. They allowed 44 all last season. When opposing offenses can pick up yards in big chunks, those add up in a hurry. Better cornerback play will help bring that number down.

Receiver Malcolm Mitchell is still at the stadium on a regular basis, but he is obviously behind linebacker Shea McClellin, another player on injured reserve who returned to practice Wednesday, and defensive tackle Vincent Valentine, who went on IR but has been more visible during the time reporters have been in the locker room. My sense is that Mitchell isn't close at this time to a return. In the end, with McClellin on track to return to the roster (possibly as early as Nov. 12 in Denver), it could come down to Valentine and Mitchell for the other spot, because teams can only bring two players off IR in a season. It looks to me that Mitchell has some ground to make up if he is going to take that spot.

A lot of what the Patriots do at running back is going to be contingent on how the game plays out. Dion Lewis is coming off his best game of the season and the Patriots are known to ride the hot hand, but I expect them to still have Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead involved when they aren't in their passing sets with James White. In the end, I'd be surprised if there one running back who plays significantly more snaps than the other. Close to an even split seems like the right call.