The New England Patriots have made a pair of odd moves ahead of their matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. First, the team waived wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins.
Thompkins has just six catches for 53 yards this season, after catching 32 passes for 466 yards last year. The Patriots also promoted linebacker Ja’Gared Davis from the practice squad, meaning he’ll be eligible to play on Sunday night against the Bengals.
As if that wasn't odd, the Patriots decision to not activate cornerback Brandon Browner certainly is. The 6-4, 221-pound Browner was signed this offseason after it was announced he'd be suspended for the first four games of this year due to a PED violation.
Browner's suspension is up, and it was believed he'd be activated this week. He brings a physical element to a defense that was trampled Monday night and has to deal with wide receivers A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu this week.
ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss reported earlier Saturday that of either Thompkins or the embattled Aaron Dobson would be inactive against the Bengals, and Reiss believed that it would be Thompkins who got the nod.
While Thompkins can move the chains with his route-running and solid hands, he doesn't offer enough playmaking ability, and the Patriots need someone to step up and give them just that. The truth is, they might not have someone capable of doing that.
Reiss also reported that he expects starting cornerback Alfonzo Dennard to be out. That makes the decision to not activate Browner even more odd.
Dennard played 52 snaps in Week 1 against the Dolphins but has not appeared in regular-season action since. The 25-year-old was a limited participant in each of the last three Patriots practices this week.
This could lead to bigger games for Green and Sanu on the outside, though Logan Ryan and Darrelle Revis are still two quality corners.