Already thin on depth, the New England Patriots offense took another hit on Wednesday, August 30.
Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton went on injured reserve according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Thornton, who sustained a shoulder injury on August 17, will miss at least four games in the regular season.
The injury occurred during the first joint practice with the Green Bay Packers when Thornton hit the turf hard on his shoulder and left practice immediately. Thornton missed the final two preseason games because of it.
#Patriots rookie connection.
QB Bailey Zappe finds WR Tyquan Thornton in the end zone for a TD. pic.twitter.com/15Fx4DMLBD
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) October 16, 2022
He tallied two catches for 31 yards in the first preseason game on August 10 against the Houston Texans. A second-round pick in 2022, Thornton will start the season on the IR for a second-straight year.
A collarbone injury in the 2022 preseason sidelined Thornton as a rookie. He came back after four games missed and caught 22 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games played.
Receiver Depth an Immanent Concern for Patriots
Thornton needed to take steps forward with the Patriots in his second year, but it will have to wait. Instead, the Patriots will look to a young group of receivers to carry the load.
New England has veterans in JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kendrick Bourne, and DeVante Parker as the top three, but it gets young after that. Rookies Demario Douglas and Kayshon Boutte will need to step up in Thornton’s absence.
With Thornton out, the Patriots can fill another spot on the 53-man roster. The Patriots could find immediate help from the practice squad in the meantime as the team signed 15 players on Wednesday.
Receivers on the practice squad include Ty Montgomery, Thyrick Pitts, and quarterback Malik Cunningham, who spent time at receiver in training camp. However, the Patriots have Cunningham listed as a quarterback, and the team only re-signed Cunningham and Bailey Zappe for two signal callers behind starter Mac Jones.
Patriots WR Coaches Believe Tyquan Thornton Can Make Strides in 2023
When Thornton returns to the field, Patriots wide receivers coaches believe the second-year star from Baylor will shine in year two. Troy Brown, one of the Patriots receiver coaches and a former star receiver, sees a unique talent in Thornton.
“That’s about it [getting back on the field] — I think he needs to keep improving and getting better at his craft. He’s still a young player. He has a lot to learn,” Brown told reporters in early August via MassLive.com. “I don’t have any problems with Tyquan. He’s a rare breed in this league — a guy that has the kind of speed that he has. My job is to help get the best out of him and use that to his advantage.”
Fellow Patriots receiver coach Ross Douglas likewise sees great potential in Thornton.
“Tyquan, he just has to continue to work hard. He has a lot of ability. He has quickness. He has speed. He has a lot of talent,” Douglas told reporters in early August via MassLive.com. “Now, it’s really just refining his tools and his skillset and putting it all together. He’s progressing. He’s working hard. We’ll get there.”
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