By Gregory Hunt
The second half of their round robin in the AFC East will start on Monday night when the 9-0 New England Patriots face the 5-4 Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. When the teams met at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 20, New England held off a late Buffalo rally to come away with a 40-32 victory.
With Edelman hurt, Amendola will step up
The Patriots have dealt with quite a few losses to injury this season, especially along the offensive line, but no injury is bigger than the loss of wide receiver Julian Edelman, who will miss 6-8 weeks because of a bone in his foot that was broken during Sunday’s 27-26 win over the New York Giants. The sixth-year player from Kent State has been one of quarterback Tom Brady’s favorite targets since 2013, when Edelman caught 105 passes for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. This season, he had already matched his career-high of six touchdown receptions before suffering his injury.
In a press conference Wednesday morning, head coach Bill Belichick admitted that Danny Amendola will play more snaps in Edelman’s absence, but he didn’t give any specifics as to how the Patriots will try to match Edelman’s productivity.
“(Amendola’s) going to basically play the same position and do the same things that he’s done,” said Belichick. “We’re not moving him to tackle or anything. He’s going to do what he does. It’s a team sport, so we’re going to have to find contributions from everybody somewhere along the line to kind of compensate. We’ll just have to see how it goes.”
Edelman and Amendola had also been sharing the punt return duties, but now Amendola will be the primary guy in this area.
“Danny’s done a good job for us there,” said Belichick. “He takes a lot of pride in that and the play he made last week was a great play – great awareness as well as his running and explosiveness to turn really nothing into an 80-some-yard return. Yeah, he’s done a great job for us there. We’re really fortunate that we have depth at that position.”
Brady gets another Fauria to throw to
Outside of guard Chris Barker getting signed and released within three days, the Patriots have not made any moves this week to help its banged up offensive line, but they did make an interesting move in signing tight end Joseph Fauria to the practice squad. If Fauria’s name sounds familiar, that’s because his uncle Christian Fauria was a tight end for the Patriots from 2002-2005. The elder Fauria is now a Boston sports radio personality and a studio analyst for college football on CBS Sports Network. He caught 13 touchdown passes during his tenure with New England.
“I got a text from (Christian) last night,” said Brady as his Wednesday press conference. “I remember being out at UCLA when I lived in California and meeting (Joseph) out there. So we’ll see what he can do. Hopefully he can contribute. If it’s in the gene pool, then I think we’re in the right place.”
The younger Fauria caught seven touchdown passes during his rookie season with the Detroit Lions in 2013, but he needed nine months to recover from an ankle injury he suffered the following year.
Gregory Hunt is a Boston native and a life-long fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. He’s also particularly fond of lacrosse, IndyCar racing and women’s college basketball. He currently works for Examiner.com where he serves as the Senior Manager of Content and Media Access. He also writes for Examiner.com as the New England Patriots Examiner. His work can be found on aExaminer.com.