Can the Patriots' Defense Overcome Glaring Issues Without Dont'a Hightower?

Report | Injury sidelines Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower

Dont'a Hightower was injured in the New England Patriots win over the Atlanta Falcons in the fog on Sunday night.

Without Hightower, the Pats are left with Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, David Harris, Cassius Marsh, and Marquis Flowers at linebacker.

Hightower has missed two games already this season and is one the team's top leaders and communicators.

The New England Patriots' defense has been a major liability this season, and it looks like the situation is about to get worse. He knows the defense like the back of his hand, and to lose a guy like that is a huge blow for the team. Losing Hightower for the season hardly helps. Hightower has started five games this season and tallied 14 combined tackles and two quarterback sacks.

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After watching Brown limp noticeably after Sunday's game and again earlier this week, and not spotting him at Thursday's walkthrough practice, it seems safe to say he's a long shot to play Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. "I mean, obviously, he's a guy who's been out there for a lot of years now, played multiple roles on the defense, different spots, communication, everything". Rapoport's update was a surprise to some who thought Hightower would be ready to return during the season.

Hightower's absence also will be felt on the edge, where the Patriots lack depth. "But as a linebacker group we gotta step up and try to take his place, which is gonna be tough to do".

The Patriots will be missing their key linebacker, as the 2017 Patriots defense has been marked by giving up big plays, not generating pressure, and giving up the sixth most points in the NFL.

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