The already struggling Patriots defense has lost one of its top players.
Linebacker Dont'a Hightower is out for the season with a torn pectoral, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Hightower suffered the injury tackling Falcons running back Devonta Freeman on Sunday night.
The Patriots kept Hightower with a four-year, $35.5 million contract this offseason. Hightower didn’t receive as many big-money offers as he was hoping for, in part because teams were concerned about his injury history.
The injury is a blow to the Patriots’ defense, as Hightower is one of their top players when healthy. Although the Patriots’ defense played well against the Falcons, for most of this season it has been one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
Things for have gone from bad
Going into the season if you made a list of the top five most important players for the 2017 Patriots I think most people would agree it'd be some combination of Brady, Edelman, Gronk, Hightower and McCourty. Maybe you could throw Butler or an offensive linemen in the mix.
Now, two of those guys are out for 2017, as Edelman tore his ACL in the preseason.
No way to sugar coat it, this sucks.
After looking worse than Lena Dunham in lingerie through six game, the Pats D finally started to look like a competent NFL defense last Sunday. So of course they lose one of their most important players. Just absolutely brutal. Hightower is not only one of the few play makers this defense has (remember)
but he is also a captain and one of the vocal leaders both on and off the field.
It just sucks, as a fan he's one of my favorite players on the team. The dude is exactly what you want in a Patriot.
The one, and pretty much only downside to Hightower as a player is his injury proneness. It's no secret Hightower has had his injury problems. He's only played a full 16 games once in his six year career, it's probably why he didn't get a monster deal this off season. Torn pectoral is just brutal.
While it is only week 8 of the NFL season so you don't want to say this totally ends the Patriots chances at a repeat, it does make things a lot more difficult. I don't know if last week's improvement defensively was an anomaly, or a sign of improvements to come but subtracting Hightower kind of throws any sort of improvement you saw out the window.
It was 20-0 deep into the 3rd quarter when Dont'a got hurt, it's not like he went down early, and then they basically shutout the NFC champs.
Idk where the Patriots go from here. They're gonna need to find away to add someone, because this island of misfit toys defense has shown (except for last week) that they can't stop a nose bleed. The trade deadline is quickly approaching, gotta just hope Bill can snatch up some former early draft pick that a team has given up on and turn him into a superstar. Luckily this week the Patriots face the Chargers who they've historically owned throughout the Brady-Belichick era.
Now both players who made arguably the two biggest plays for the Patriots in Super Bowl LI (Edelman, and Hightower) are out for the season. Kind of a weird coincidence.