Tight end Martellus Bennett and Safety Nate Ebner have both been placed on injured reserve after Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. The news was broken by the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride earlier on Monday.

Bennett’s Shoulder Injury Rears its Head

The story of Bennett’s injury has been a hot topic since he was first released by the Green Bay Packers in early November. Bennett was allegedly cut by the Packers for failure to disclose an injury. This allegation has been vehemently denied by Bennett on Instagram following his departure from Green Bay. He was scooped up by the New England Patriots off waivers shortly afterward.

Bennett’s return to New England was a favorable situation for both parties involved. The 10th-year tight end excelled with the Patriots in 2016, playing a key role in the Patriots fifth Super Bowl winning season. Upon his return to the team, Bennett has collected all six of his targets from Tom Brady for a total of 53 yards. In only two games, Bennett out-caught and out-performed Dwayne Allen, who was brought in from the Indianapolis Colts to replace Bennett. Bennett was inactive during Sunday’s 35-17 win over the Dolphins. It appears his shoulder injury has progressed to the point where his ability to play will be significantly affected.

It appeared initially that Bennett was brought on to bolster New England’s red zone offense. Bennett caught five touchdowns in the red zone last year with New England. The Patriots will have to rely on Allen to turn around his sub-par performance to supplement Rob Gronkowski moving forward.

Ebner Injured on Fake Punt against Miami

Nate Ebner was injured early in the Patriots game against Miami on Sunday. On a fourth down play in the first quarter, Ebner rushed the ball on a fake punt and wound up hobbled on the sideline with an apparent knee injury. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported that the Patriots fear that yet another torn ACL will haunt this team’s injury report, and an injured reserve designation would confirm that fear.

Ebner has been listed as a third-string free safety on the Patriots depth chart, but his true contribution has come on special teams. His special teams play landed him a second-team All-Pro designation in 2016. This is yet another blow to the Patriots special teams unit, who has already seen six-time special teams Pro Bowler Matt Slater fall victim to the injuries plaguing the New England squad.

The Patriots travel to take on the Buffalo Bills on the road in week 13.

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