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New England Patriots lose LB Dont'a Hightower for the season

27 October, 2017, 01:02 | Author: Lamar Ellis
  • New England Patriots middle linebacker Dont'a Hightower during an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Mass. Sunday Oct. 1 2017

Hightower's fourth-quarter strip sack of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was one of the key plays in Super Bowl LI, helping the Patriots complete their rally from a 25-point deficit to win the Lombardi Trophy. Hightower missed a couple of games earlier this season, so they've had some experience without him in the lineup to draw on as they come up with a new plan on defense. Hightower was originally ruled out for Sunday's matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers due to a right shoulder injury, but he will now be out for the season.

For a defense that already isn't very good, this is a big blow for the New England Patriots.

The 2012 first-round pick out of Alabama represents a significant loss for a Patriots defense that ranks last in the National Football League in total yardage allowed per game (426.7) and 23rd in points allowed per game (23.7).

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Hightower signed a four-year $35.5 million contract in March. The Tennessee native also missed the second and third weeks of the season, watching as New England surrendered 20 and 33 points in those games. "He knows this defense like the back of his hand". If he does indeed miss Sunday's game, Hightower would likely be replaced at middle linebacker David Harris. Losing Hightower for the season hardly helps.

To bolster the roster depth, linebacker Trevor Reilly was promoted from the practice squad on Wednesday, and Kyle Van Noy will be the feature linebacker for the Patriots. "It's a tough loss for us defensively, but it's something we'll have to overcome".

"When we have a plan like that with new guys, we have to get them all on the same page", he said on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday.

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