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Saturday, October 6, 2012
Projecting the Patriots' inactives

By Field Yates

Projecting the Patriots' seven inactives for their Week 5 contest against the Denver Broncos:

Wide receiver Julian Edelman
Reason: Health
Quick hit: Absent since a Week 3 injury to his hand, Edelman remains on the mend. He was officially listed as out by the team following Friday's practice.

Safety Steve Gregory
Reason: Health
Quick hit: Gregory left the team's Week 4 win with a hip injury, and has missed practice each day this week. The team officially listed him as out following Friday's practice.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez
Reason: Health
Quick hit: Despite returning to the practice field this week (on a limited basis), Hernandez may not be quite ready for a return to the game field. It's a positive sign for the team that he appears to be a quick healer, but a Week 6 return seems more realistic.

Offensive lineman Matt Tennant
Reason: Depth
Quick hit: Tennant practiced with the team this week after signing last Saturday (he did not travel to Buffalo, however), but with the potential return of Logan Mankins to the lineup, the team has less need for interior offensive line depth.

Defensive lineman Justin Francis
Reason: Health/depth
Quick hit: Francis continues to wait on his NFL debut, and a nagging ankle injury has limited this week in practice. Francis still has upside, but it may be another few weeks -- or longer -- before he gets to show it on the field.

Defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick
Reason: Health
Quick hit: Like Francis, an ankle injury has shelved Deaderick in recent weeks. He was limited again throughout the week, and is questionable for Week 5, via the team's official injury report.

Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard
Reason: Depth/development
Quick hit: Dennard was off the team's injury report this week, but depth in the secondary could keep him off the game -ay roster again in Week 5. Though the Patriots are one man short in the secondary with Gregory sitting out, they possess the ability to move a versatile player like Sterling Moore to a reserve safety spot in a pinch.

EXTRA POINT: This projection does not include linebacker Dont'a Hightower (hamstring), who is listed as questionable. Hightower told reporters on Friday that he will be a game-time decision, but added that he is feeling no pain. That leads this scribe to believe he will play.