Analysis from Patriots inactives

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
11:59
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts from the Patriots’ inactive players and what it means for others on the roster:

Chung remains out. Safety Patrick Chung (foot) will miss his fourth straight game. Rookie Sterling Moore will likely again start in Chung's place. The Patriots will be thin at this position, with James Ihedigbo and Sergio Brown the only other two safeties active.

Connolly out; Wendell active. Despite practicing all week, offensive lineman Dan Connolly (groin) is inactive for the second straight game. Meanwhile, center Ryan Wendell (calf) is active. The Patriots added center/guard Nick McDonald from their practice squad on Saturday, so a rotation between McDonald and Wendell seems possible.

McCourty suits up. After missing the last two games with a shoulder injury, cornerback Devin McCourty (questionable/shoulder) is active. He will likely return to his starting role alongside Kyle Arrington, with Antwaun Molden and Nate Jones the reserve options.

Vereen out; Faulk in. Rookie running back Shane Vereen (hamstring) is inactive after playing in the last two games. Veteran running back Kevin Faulk is active for a second straight week.

Fletcher & Spikes remain out. Linebackers Dane Fletcher (thumb) and Brandon Spikes (knee) remain out of action, despite Fletcher returning to practice this week for the first time in over a month. Both players look primed to return before the end of the regular season.

Mallett stays inactive. If there was a week where one could anticipate a backup Patriots quarterback seeing time, this week would be it, with the 0-11 Colts in town. However, the Patriots' only option today in that regard will be Brian Hoyer, with rookie Ryan Mallett a healthy scratch.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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