FOXBOROUGH — As we saw against the Buffalo Bills, when the Patriots lose one of their offensive linemen, top backup Donald Thomas fills right in.
Logan Mankins, who is inactive for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, will likely be replaced by Thomas, who played in his place in Week 4 when the Patriots took on the Bills.
The Patriots will also have to deal with the loss of safety Patrick Chung, who suffered a shoulder injury against the Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots are currently down two safeties, with starter Steve Gregory also out with a hip injury. According to the Globe’s Shalise Manza Young, that opens up the possibility for CB Devin McCourty to slide over to safety alongside rookie Tavon Wilson, who has filled in for Gregory.
In that scenario, the cornerbacks will be filled by Kyle Arrington on the right side and Alfonzo Dennard on the left. In sub packages, Arrington will slide inside and Ras-I Dowling would come on the field as the left corner.
We’ll see how this plays out specifically during the game. But there’s one bit of good news: Dont’a Hightower is back after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury. That should allow Rob Ninkovich to return to defensive end and allow Jermaine Cunningham to come in on sub packages only.