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Patriots minus top interior rushers

11/24/2010

DETROIT -- The Patriots will be without their top interior pass rushers for Thursday's game against the Lions, as defensive linemen Mike Wright (concussion/neck) and Myron Pryor (back) have been downgraded to out on the team's injury report.

In addition, starting right guard Stephen Neal (shoulder) and cornerback Jonathan Wilhite (hip) will miss their second straight game, the team announced. Reserve offensive lineman Mark LeVoir (elbow) has also been downgraded to out.

Wright leads the Patriots with 5.5 sacks, and in the team's 4-2-5 nickel package, he most often lines up at tackle next to Pryor while playing a penetrating-type role.

So the Patriots will have to alter that part of their plan, with veteran Gerard Warren a top candidate. The Patriots have Ron Brace, Vince Wilfork and Brandon Deaderick as starters in the base 3-4, and those players could also join the rotation in passing situations, along with rookie free agent Kyle Love.

On the offensive line, Neal will be replaced by five-year veteran Dan Connolly, who has filled in capably this season at both guard spots.

On a related note, veteran running back Fred Taylor (toe) had made the trip and could be active for the first time since Sept. 26. Safety Jarrad Page (calf) has also made the trip and could play for the first time since Oct. 17.