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Projecting Patriots' inactive players

1/12/2013

Injuries to defensive end Rob Ninkovich and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard have been a focus for the Patriots this week, but Friday's official injury report brought good news as both Talib and Ninkovich were removed, meaning they'll be on the field this Sunday, while Dennard is listed as probable. In fact, the Patriots are in a very good spot overall as it relates to the health of their team, with just five players on the injury report, all of whom are listed as probable.

With all of that in mind, here's a shot at projecting the Patriots' seven inactive players for Sunday.

Defensive end Jake Bequette

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: Bequette hasn't been able to crack the regular defensive end rotation. Look for a bigger role for the third-round pick in 2013.

Wide receiver Kamar Aiken

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: Aiken was a recent call-up from the practice squad, and has not caught a pass this season.

Offensive lineman Markus Zusevics

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: A developmental prospect who should be more active in 2013.

Tight end Daniel Fells

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: With Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on the field and Michael Hoomanawanui as a reserve player, the Patriots may not need four tight ends this Sunday.

Defensive back Derrick Martin

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: With Marquice Cole no longer listed on the injury report, the Patriots are in good shape depth-wise at cornerback.

Offensive lineman Nick McDonald

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: The Patriots have key reserve players along the offensive line in Donald Thomas and Marcus Cannon in case of injury.

Defensive back Malcolm Williams

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: With Nate Ebner removed from the injury report on Friday, the Patriots will return one of their top special-teamers this Sunday. That could slide Williams off the game-day roster.