The plethora of newcomers to the Patriots’ pass-catching corps will get plenty of work with Tom Brady in the coming weeks.
New England’s unquestioned No. 1 option, Julian Edelman, is expected to miss multiple weeks of practice because of a left thumb injury, a source confirmed.
News of Edelman’s injury was first reported by ESPN.
Patriots training camp opens on Thursday. The team is scheduled to practice in Foxborough through early August before heading to Detroit and Nashville for joint practice sessions with the Lions and Titans. It’s unclear if Edelman will make either trip.
The Patriots open the regular season with a Sept. 8 Sunday night showdown against the Steelers. This gives Edelman more than a month to recover from the injury.
Edelman held a youth football camp in Sudbury over the weekend, but his injury was not apparent to the naked eye. He wore gloves on both hands – standard for him – and threw passes to the campers. Close-up photos from the weekend show a small brace under the glove covering his left hand.
With Edelman sidelined, several new receivers will see extended work in practice. Phillip Dorsett, who had been practicing as the No. 2 receiver in the spring, likely elevates to No. 1. First-round pick N’Keal Harry should see additional opportunities with Brady and the first-team offense. And free-agent signing Maurice Harris, who excelled in the spring, could find himself practicing with the starters. The same goes for Dontrelle Inman.
Young slot receivers Braxton Berrios, Ryan Davis and Jakobi Meyers will be in position to earn valuable reps.
The Patriots experienced a major overhaul at receiver and tight end this offseason. Rob Gronkowski’s retirement created a massive void that is likely to be filled by Ben Watson (suspended four games to begin the year) and free-agent acquisition Matt LaCosse.
At receiver, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson departed in free agency. The team signed Harris, Inman and veteran Demaryius Thomas, who will open camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he recovers from a torn Achilles. Josh Gordon remains indefinitely suspended by the NFL. There has been no update on his status heading into camp.
Needless to say, the Patriots will be relying heavily on Edelman this season.
They’ll need others to step up, though. There will be no shortage of reps for the rest of New England’s receivers in the early stages of camp.

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