Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New England Patriots [Print without images]

Sunday, December 16, 2012
Sharing thoughts on inactives

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Some quick-hit thoughts from the Patriots inactive players:

1. A hit on special teams with White out. Veteran linebacker Tracy White (elbow) is a core member of special teams, so that’s four spots to fill -- punt coverage, kickoff coverage, punt return and kickoff return. Fullback James Develin, making his NFL debut, could be his replacement. White is also a top backup linebacker, although the Patriots often go just three-deep with Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Dont'a Hightower.

2. Eyes on tight end depth chart. With Rob Gronkowski missing his fourth straight game, the Patriots have Aaron Hernandez, Michael Hoomanawanui and Daniel Fells on the depth chart. Hoomanawanui played a season-high 43 snaps last week, while Fells had nine -- a noticeable change on the depth chart at the No. 2 tight-end spot.

3. Bequette bumped out again by Jones. With rookie defensive end Chandler Jones back for the second game in a row, fellow rookie Jake Bequette is out for the second straight week. Bequette, the third-round pick out of Arkansas, remains behind rookie Justin Francis on the depth chart.

4. Brace out for second straight week. Defensive lineman Ron Brace, who has been limited by an elbow injury in practices, is inactive for the second week in a row. Brace has played 92 defensive snaps this season as the No. 4 option on the depth chart. This highlights how the Patriots are a bit thin with the big bodies up front, with just Vince Wilfork, Brandon Deaderick and Kyle Love.