Sunday, March 9, 2014
Welcome to In the Huddle. For the rest of the NFL season, we will try to keep you informed, provide you telling statistics and, yes, even entertain you as the New England Patriots make another run at another Super Bowl championship.
We'll start simple today.
As the Patriots prepare to play Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at Gillette Stadium, a couple of players have already been ruled OUT: defensive lineman Tommy Kelly (knee) and running back Leon Washington (ankle).
Kelly, injured in last Sunday's 13-6 loss at Cincinnati, could be a big loss in the middle of the Patriots defense. With Vince Wilfork already out for the season following surgery on his injured Achilles tendon, Kelly had been expected to provide the bulk in the middle of the line. Now even more pressure falls on rookies Joe Vellano and Chris Jones.
Also of note from Friday, wide receiver Aaron Dobson (neck), linebackers Dont'a Hightower (knee) and Jerod Mayo (ankle) and defensive end Rob Ninkovich (groin) had full participation in practice after limited participation on Wednesday and Thursday. They are now PROBABLE for the game.
Still no definite word on tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had yet to play this year. He's still listed as QUESTIONABLE on the Injury Report.
The Saints, meanwhile, have listed safety Roman Harper (knee) and defensive end Tyrunn Walker (knee) OUT for the game.
Mike Lowe has covered the New England Patriots since 1999 for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and has had a nice view of their emergence as one of the NFL’s premier franchises.
He’s been at the paper since 1982 and has covered everything from a Little League World Series to the Summer Olympics. He is married to Tracie and they have three children and two grandchildren.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeLowePPH.