Tag:Dan Connelly
Posted on: September 21, 2011 1:49 pm

Patriots C Dan Koppen out for season

Posted by Will Brinson

Patriots center Dan Koppen suffered a nasty broken ankle in New England's Week 1 victory over the Dolphins that resulted in him being carted off the field. But it was nastier than anyone could have imagined at the time -- the team announced on Wednesday that Koppen was placed on injured reserve, ending his season.

Defensive lineman Myron Pryor was also placed on IR, and defensive back Philip Adams and defensive lineman Landon Cohen were signed to the active roster.

The good news for the Patriots is that guard Dan Connolly looked quite good against the Chargers (and in action against the Dolphins) since moving over to replace Koppen on the line.

Additionally, New England has a pretty sturdy line as far as things go, with Logan Mankins and Brian Waters beefing up protection around Connolly and Matt Light the stalwart at left tackle. Having tight ends Rob Gronkowski and -- when he returns from his injury -- Aaron Hernandez on the field almost all the time doesn't hurt either.

And neither does having Tom Brady under center -- clearly the Patriots would prefer to keep as much protection around Tom as possible, but if you're going to have a quarterback who needs to establish timing with his pass catchers and clear the ball out quickly, he's a pretty good one to have.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 19, 2011 12:28 pm

Aaron Hernandez out 1-2 weeks with MCL sprain?

Posted by Will Brinson

The New England Patriots have piled up more passing yards than anyone in the NFL, and it's largely in part to the stupendous play from their two young tight ends, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. (As Phil Simms notes in the video below, they are, in fact, "the difference" for the Pats offense this year.)

So it's bad news to hear that Hernandez will reportedly miss one to two weeks with a sprained MCL, according to Shalise Young of the Boston Globe.

Hernandez missed the second half of the fourth quarter on Sunday against San Diego after taking a shot to knee from Bob Sanders helmet, despite staying in the game for a few plays after the knock to the knee.

"I feel pretty good," Hernandez said before hobbling out of the locker room, via Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald. "Little sore, we’ll see what it is. Just getting ready for this next game."

How this plays out will be interesting for the Patriots. For one, there's a belief that Rob Gronkowski will now catch 15 touchdowns next week. That's actually less likely, because Hernandez' absence will limit the ability of New England to spread out coverage on their tight ends.

It will also likely mean the recently-criticized Chad Ochocinco, heretofore the fifth option in the passing game for New England, gets a serious chance to step up and impress his critics, as the Patriots won't run as many two tight end sets without Hernandez in the game. (And therefore, likely more three-wideout sets.)

Hernandez' absence won't mean that Tom Brady's prolific start to the season should suddenly slow down, and it's entirely possible that the Patriots Week 3 matchup against the Bills is another shootout for a Patriots team that's already been involved in a pair so far this year.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 12, 2011 9:06 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 1:14 am

Pats C Dan Koppen breaks ankle

Posted by Will Brinson

The Patriots won their season opener against the Dolphins in Miami but it came at a cost: center Dan Koppen, who left just before halftime, has a broken left ankle, according to the Boston Herald's Ian Rapoport.

"The team will run more tests tomorrow to see whether there is more damage to the ligaments or the surrounding portions of his leg," Rapoport wrote early Tuesday morning. "But, the early returns are that it may not be a complicated break. In fact, don’t rule Koppen out for the season just yet."

Koppen suffered what the Patriots called a left ankle injury at the time when Karlos Dansby fell on his leg as Koppen blocked for a Tom Brady sneak on third down late in the first half.

He screamed in pain and lay on the ground for a few minutes until a cart was brought out -- as Koppen was leaving, cameras picked him up mouthing something that didn't exactly look, um, optimistic to the medical staff. He was also seen leaving the medical room on crutches and said "We'll see" when asked about the extent of his injury.

The injury is particularly devastating for New England, as they signed Thomas Welch from the practice squad just to get to seven offensive linemen for the Monday night game.

The Dolphins Jason Taylor also suffered an ankle and/or foot injury during the first half when it appeared someone stepped on his foot; he returned to the game in the second half.

Perhaps coincidentally, as soon as Koppen left and Dan Connolly slid over to center, Wake immediately drew a holding call against rookie lineman Nate Solder and then on the next play, recorded a sack on Tom Brady.

Not coincidentally, Wake/Taylor against New England's thinned-out line was our top matchup to watch tonight. And, as we expected, the Pats have been using the heck out of two tight end sets -- they had Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski on the field for nearly every single play in the first half.

Expect to see plenty of them in the second half as well, since the loss of Koppen will require increased assistance for an extremely thin offensive line.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com