Saturday, March 8, 2014
Safety Steve Gregory, who broke his right hand in the fourth quarter of the Patriots' win over Pittsburgh on Nobv. 3, headed their inactive list for Sunday's game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Gregory, missing his second consecutive, will likely be replaced by rookie Duron Harmon. Gregory did practice during the week.
It wasn't all bad news for the Patriots however. Cornerbacks Aqib Talib (hip), Alfonzo Dennard (knee) and Kyle Arrington (groin), all questionable for the game, are all active. That is huge against a Denver offense led by Manning that is averaging an NFL-best 39.8 points, 350.4 passing yards and 455.5 total yards.
Tight end Michel Hoomanawanui(knee) is also inactive, which should mean more playing time for Matthew Mulligan, the Maine native and UMaine graduate.
And the Patriots got some good news from the Denver Inactive List. It included tight end Julius Thomas, who leads the Broncos with 10 touchdown catches and averages 13.1 yards per catch.
The Patriots other inactive players are lienbacker Steve Beauharnais, offensive lineman Chris Barker, wide receiver Josh Boyce, defensive end Jake Bequette and defensive lineman Marcus Forston.
Boyce's absence means that LeGarrette Blount will likely return kick-offs.
And, given the wind howling through Gillette, it's a good bet that there will be some returns tonight.
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.