Analysis from Patriots' inactives

December, 23, 2012
12/23/12
11:59
AM ET
Sharing a few thoughts on the inactive players for the Patriots and Jaguars today.

1. Talib (hip) good to go. Cornerback Aqib Talib tested his hip before the game, and ultimately it was determined that he was healthy enough to play today, and he should assume the starting role that he has held since being acquired by the team at the trade deadline. With Alfonzo Dennard out, look for Kyle Arrington to start opposite of Talib. The fact that the team opted not to rest Talib is a further suggestion that they are not taking today's opponent, the 2-12 Jaguars, lightly. They'll need all hands on deck to take care of business. If the hip begins to act up and limit Talib, one possibility at cornerback would be to move Devin McCourty from his safety spot and reinstitute the pair of Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung at safety. Veteran defensive back Derrick Martin is active after sitting the past few games and provides depth.

2. Rivera ready? With Brandon Spikes out, the Patriots will need to decide how to handle his starting role. One option would be to put Mike Rivera, who started in Week 15, in his place, but Rivera did not practice Wednesday or Thursday this week with an ankle injury. If he's limited at all, the Patriots have veterans Niko Koutovides and Tracy White available, and also could turn to more 3-4 fronts, with Jerod Mayo and Dont'a Hightower playing inside. We'll monitor the linebackers throughout the day.

3. Brace a healthy scratch. Defensive lineman Ron Brace was removed from the injury report this week, but was once again made inactive. That could be tied into the team either feeling it is sufficiently covered for defensive line depth or that Brace is not ready to contribute at a level the team needs him to be at. The fourth-year defensive lineman and former second-round pick has four tackles this season.

4. Jags down three running backs. Star running back Maurice Jones-Drew will miss his ninth straight game with a foot injury, and his backup, Rashad Jennings (concussion) also is among the Jaguars' inactives. Running back Jonathan Grimes, claimed off of waivers on Friday, also is inactive. That leaves veterans Montell Owens, Jalen Parmele and Jordan Todman as options to take carries.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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