<
>

Dion Lewis injury hurts, but Patriots still loaded on offense

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Let’s go “three-and-out” with some hot-button New England Patriots topics on Twitter:

Absolutely, Ken. The loss of Dion Lewis hurts the Patriots, but they still have a lot of weapons and when the first two are quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski, that's a good place to start. Receiver Julian Edelman is next and his production speaks for itself. They have a lot of different ways they can attack a defense, and one of the things that stood out to me from the Oct. 25 game against the Jets in which Lewis was sidelined with an abdomen injury was that they ran 16 snaps without a running back on the field (four receivers, one tight end). So they use all their personnel and will morph their attack based on the defense they are facing that week.

This seems like a no-brainer to me, Bob. It's dangerous to go with just three running backs on the 53-man roster for an extended period of time, and the coaching staff thought enough of Travaris Cadet to keep him on the initial roster before he was released after three weeks of the regular season, on Sept. 29. He also helps on special teams, so if they want to use Brandon Bolden more on offense, Cadet could potentially pick up some of the special-teams slack. As long as he's healthy, he makes the most sense. I'd go as far as to say the Patriots are pretty fortunate that Cadet is still available. Update: Cadet has reportedly agreed to terms with the 49ers.

I watched Sebastian Vollmer leave Gillette Stadium on a golf cart with a family member after Sunday's game, and he was alert and seemed to be in good spirits. He's presumably going to be in the concussion protocol and with that comes some uncertainty. Elsewhere along the offensive line, I saw offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (toe) and rookie guard Tre' Jackson (left knee) walk through the locker room on Monday and they are making progress. I wouldn't be surprised if Cannon is close to returning, while Jackson could be back within a week or so. So I think the offensive line has the personnel in-house, it's just a matter of grinding through a run of injuries until everyone is healthy again.