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.
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