Final Update (Sunday, 10/20, 11:30 a.m. ET): The Patriots have released their official inactive list:
Patriots inactives ... pic.twitter.com/Fou8iL2qY1— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 20, 2013
I guessed that the Patriots would play it safe with Dan Connolly and Matthew Slater, but apparently both are healthy enough to go, so WR Josh Boyce and OL Chris Barker are inactive instead. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald tweets:
Matthew Slater does indeed make his return after missing four games with a broken wrist. He'll play with a cast on his left wrist/thumb.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 20, 2013
This week was not a great one for the Patriots healthwise: Four players were knocked out of the New Orleans Saints game with injuries, and only two have returned to practice. The worst news is that the Patriots lost linebacker Jerod Mayo for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.
The Patriots have already announced three players as out, and still have a full roster, so they will need to deactivate four more players.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola, who was knocked out of the Saints game after a helmet-to-helmet hit, has not practiced all week and was ruled out by the Patriots. Julian Edelman took some tough hits during the Patriots' game-winning drive and has been limited all week. Nevertheless, he didn't miss any practices; he should be able to play.
Running back Leon Washington has seemingly gone backward. After being limited in practice against the Cincinnati Bengals, he hasn't practiced in two weeks and has been ruled out. Brandon Bolden, on the other hand, has been limited in practice for the entire season, but has been active for the last four weeks. He should be active.
Special teams gunner Matthew Slater, recovering from a broken wrist, has been practicing since last week. The Patriots' special teams have not taken a massive hit, so the Patriots might be inclined to let him sit for one more week.
|WR Danny Amendola (groin)||Did not practice||Did not practice||OUT|
|RB Brandon Bolden (knee)||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|WR Julian Edelman (thigh)||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|WR/ST Matthew Slater (wrist)||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|RB Leon Washington (ankle)||Did not practice||Did not practice||OUT|
Interior OL Dan Connolly was sidelined earlier this week with a concussion, but has been cleared to practice. That said, concussions are a serious issue, so it would not be surprising for the Patriots to let him sit this week. Marcus Cannon is considered questionable with a shoulder injury. Nate Solder was added to the injury list on Friday with a back issue, but is probable for Sunday.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui has been on the injured list for several weeks now, but has yet to miss a game.
Finally, if you heard an enormous roar from the Northeast on Friday morning, it was likely because of this tweet (retweeted by Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus):
While this is not a guarantee that Gronkowski will play, there is a high probability that Gronkowski will finally play this Sunday.
|OL Marcus Cannon (shoulder)||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|OL Dan Connolly (head)||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|TE Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm)||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|TE Michael Hoomanawanui (knee)||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|OL Nate Solder (back)||Not listed||Limited||Probable|
The Patriots have already ruled out DL Tommy Kelly, who has not practiced at all this week. This means that their young DLs—Joe Vellano, Chris Jones, and Marcus Forston—will all be active this week.
The Patriots currently have four defensive backs on the injured list. Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington were both full participants in practice on Friday, and should both be active. Aqib Talib, who left the Saints game with a hip injury, returned to practice on Friday after missing Wednesday and Thursday. Talib is the only player listed as doubtful on the roster; against the New York Jets, I expect that the Patriots will give Talib the chance to rest.
Finally, safety Tavon Wilson has missed the last two games, and has zero tackles on the season; in fact, according to Football Outsiders, he has only played one snap on defense through six weeks. There is little reason to believe he'll be active.
|CB Kyle Arrington (groin)||Full||Full||Probable|
|DL Tommy Kelly (knee)||Did not practice||Did not practice||OUT|
|LB Jerod Mayo (shoulder)||—||—||Injured Reserve|
|CB Devin McCourty (shoulder)||Limited||Full||Probable|
|DE Rob Ninkovich (groin)||Full||Full||Probable|
|CB Aqib Talib (hip)||Did not practice||Limited||Doubtful|
|S Tavon Wilson (hamstring)||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
As noted above, the Patriots have confirmed three players as out as of Friday's practice report:
- WR Danny Amendola
- DL Tommy Kelly
- RB Leon Washington
I would predict the other four inactive players will all be injury list players:
- OL Dan Connolly
- ST/WR Matthew Slater
- CB Aqib Talib (confirmed out on Saturday)
- S Tavon Wilson (confirmed out on Saturday)
Since the Jets game is an away game, the Patriots may downgrade non-traveling players to out Saturday afternoon.
UPDATE (Saturday, 10/19, 3 p.m. ET): Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports that Rob Gronkowski is traveling with the team, but Aqib Talib is not. While Gronkowski might be inactive on Sunday, it is now all but certain that Talib will not play.
UPDATE 2 (Saturday, 10/19, 11 p.m. ET): The Patriots have deactivated both Talib and Wilson, according to ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss.