Sammy Morris was placed on injured reserve yesterday, due to a chest injury. We don’t know exactly what it was, but it was obviously severe.
There are a lot of ways in which this affects the team. First, it opens up a roster spot, in which we will likely activate Chad or Eddie Jackson from PUP.
Second, it puts us at a tight fit at running back. Morris was running very well, and Maroney has been oft-injured, so if he goes down, we’d have to rely on Evans (would likely get over half of carries), Faulk (would split), and Eckel (around five attempts per game). Although I think we’d continue to win, I think you could just throw undefeated out the window. Does that mean we’ll sign another RB? Likely not. The team went into the season with four running backs (Maroney, Morris, Faulk, Evans), and now have four (Maroney, Faulk, Evans, Eckel).
Despite this, the Patriots will keep their list of free agents fresh, and could possibly sign another guy. Likely roster spot candidates include Patrick Pass, Kevan Barlow, Wali Lundy, Samkon Gado, maybe Antowain Smith, among others. Also, the Patriots could sign Justise Hairston off the Colts practice squad, or could even sign Corey Dillon, but I think he would only play for us if Maroney went down.
Morris’ injury also brings up questions about the future at running back. Keep in mind, the Patriots have San Fransisco’s pick this year, which is currently aligned for fifth overall. Fifth overall! If the Patriots went for BPA, would they draft a guy like Darren McFadden, who could run a menacing 1-2 punch with Laurence Maroney.
It’s going to be tough going forwards without Morris, as his north-south style was exactly what the Patriots needed, but things will move on, as the Patriots will have to learn to gameplan without Morris. This should be a defining month for Laurence Maroney.