From ESPN's Adam Schefter this morning: "Tom Brady will play today -- but those ribs, and that finger, and that shoulder, and that knee, are a little worse than people realize."
Brady hasn't looked like himself for the last two weeks.
The Patriots haven't looked like themselves, either.
Maybe injuries have been a factor for both.
The Patriots' injury report has looked a little bit like its 53-man roster this month. Seventeen players were listed as questionable for the game at New Orleans, and 14 were listed as questionable a week ago against Miami. Nine were listed as questionable for today's game against the Carolina Panthers -- including Brady, who was listed with injuries to his right shoulder, his right finger and his ribs. Among other notables:
* LB Tully Banta-Cain (shoulder)
* WR Julian Edelman (forearm)
* DE Jarvis Green (knee)
* OT Nick Kaczur (ankle)
* OG Stephen Neal (ankle)
* RB Fred Taylor (ankle)
* DE Ty Warren (ankle)
Not one of those players were full-go during any of the Patriots' practices this week. Not one of those players will be full-go even if they're activated today. On top of that, defensive tackle Myron Pryor did not practice at all this week and almost certainly will not be active today.
Football, of course, is a game of injuries. But the Patriots have been hit hard with nagging injuries at key spots -- especially along the offensive line. Season-ending injuries can be crippling to a team, but if its best players spend week after week dealing with pain that limits their mobility or strength, well, that's almost as tough to deal with.