Analysis from Patriots inactives

October, 31, 2010
10/31/10
3:17
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts from the Patriots' inactive players today:

Chung was game-time decision. Safety Patrick Chung worked out on the field before the game, a sign that he was a game-time decision, but his knee didn't pass the test. So the Patriots project to start Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders at safety, with rookie Sergio Brown the top backup. With thin depth at safety, the Patriots go heavy at cornerback today, with that decision also likely tied to filling the special teams void created by Matthew Slater (ankle) being inactive.

Wheatley active for the first time. Third-year cornerback Terrence Wheatley is active for the first time this season. The Patriots have been going with four cornerbacks in most games this season -- Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Jonathan Wilhite and Darius Butler -- and Wheatley adds a fifth option. Special teams considerations were likely part of the decision.

Price can't break through. With receiver Matthew Slater inactive for the first time, it looked like a chance for rookie Taylor Price to possibly find his way on to the 45-man game-day roster. But Price was passed over, probably because the Patriots were looking for more special teams impact as Slater is a top special teams performer. Elsewhere at receiver, Deion Branch (hamstring) is active, as reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Brace back in the mix. Second-year defensive lineman Ron Brace, after he was a healthy scratch last week, is active today as the Patriots dress six linemen. They went with five last week.

Ojinnaka remains top backup tackle. One change in recent weeks has been Quinn Ojinnaka over Mark LeVoir as the top backup tackle. That continues today.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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