The New England Patriots will be down a key offensive player in their season-opening matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, but they’re expected to have their top player on that side of the ball suit up.
Parker is dealing with a knee injury he suffered at the end of training camp. He missed a couple of practices last week before returning to practice this week. However, Parker was limited in practice all week.
The veteran receiver was expected to play a key role for the Patriots again in his second season with the team. He didn’t have the best year in 2022, though, recording just 31 receptions for 539 yards and three touchdowns.
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A second year working with Mac Jones seemed to help him during camp as he was a standout during the summer practices.
With Parker out, the Patriots lack a conventional deep threat for Sunday’s game. Tyquan Thornton is on injured reserve, leaving JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kendrick Bourne, Demario Douglas and Kayshon Boutte as the other receivers on the active roster. All four have typically played in the slot, though Douglas and Boutte are rookies so the Patriots could use them in a new way on Sunday.
As for Stevenson, he was reportedly dealing with a stomach bug that caused him to sit out practice on Friday. Obviously, Stevenson being able to play is huge for the Patriots. He was their top player on offense last season, recoding 1,040 rushing yards in addition to a team-high 69 receptions for 421 yards.
Beyond Stevenson, the Patriots also have Ezekiel Elliott and Ty Montgomery on the roster. It’s unknown what role Elliott will play yet as he just signed with the Patriots last month, while Montgomery was called up from the practice squad on Saturday.