New England Patriots: Fred Taylor
Taylor has not practiced since injuring his toe in the Patriots’ Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills. If Taylor is not ready to play on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, the team is likely to call on third-year running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to carry the load for a third straight game.
Taylor’s potential absence on Sunday could also mean running back Thomas Clayton, who was re-signed by the team on Sept. 30, could make his NFL debut.
The Patriots had just three backs active for the win over Miami: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Sammy Morris and Danny Woodhead.
Here is the full report:
Did not practice
Fred Taylor, RB (Toe)
Tom Brady, QB (Right shoulder)
Terrence Wheatley, CB (Foot)
For the Ravens, offensive tackle Jared Gaither (back), linebacker Tavares Gooden (shoulder) and receiver Donte Stallworth (foot) have all been ruled out.
Outside linebacker/defensive Paul Kruger (knee), fullback LeRon McClain (shoulder/knee), defensive lineman Haloti Ngata (knee), running back Ray Rice (knee) and cornerback Josh Wilson (thigh) all did not participate in practice.
Linebackers Edgar Jones (thigh) and Jameel McClain (knee) had limited participation.
But the injury does not seem to be serious. On Thursday, Taylor fully participated in the team’s full-pads practice. There were no other changes to the Patriots’ injury report. For the second straight day, receiver Julian Edelman (foot) was limited.
On the Jets' side, the big news was that cornerback Darrelle Revis was limited with a tight hamstring.
Running back Fred Taylor is among those coming to town to take part in a segment of the team's offseason program. He arrived this morning.
Taylor has annually worked out in Florida during the offseason.
When players who don't spend the entire offseason in town return, such as Taylor, it usually represents a shift in the team's program to more team-specific work (e.g. playbook installation).
Offensive lineman Stephen Neal on whether he will play next season:
“I’m not sure. I’m not sure how my body is going to feel. I’m not sure if I’ll keep playing, keep getting in them car accidents each week. I don’t know. We’ll have to find out, talk to the family, see what options are available.”
Running back Fred Taylor on the season ending:
“You have to give them all the credit. They came out and played an outstanding game. But I guess we picked the wrong day because there is no tomorrow as far as games are concerned. We just have to come in tomorrow, say our goodbyes until the offseason program cranks back up and see what we can do going forward.”
Defensive back James Sanders on a 'frustrating game':
“All we did was we kept fighting. They scored maybe 21 points in five minutes. Once you get in a situation like that, it’s tough to recover and all we could do was keep fighting. It seemed like the harder we fought, the bigger hole we dug ourselves. It was a very frustrating game for us today. Of course we were disappointed, but we weren’t lacking confidence. We were just telling ourselves keep fighting one play at a time, and until the end we thought we still had a chance to get back in the game. It just didn’t happen like that.”
Receiver Julian Edelman on Tom Brady's message to the team during the game:
“Tom Brady told us not to quit. That’s what we tried not to do and we didn’t do that.”
With the Patriots on top, 28-0, Taylor made his first appearance on the first play of the fourth quarter. After a false start penalty, he came out of the backfield on a play-action fake as Tom Brady chucked a 17-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss (the third time the duo hooked up Sunday).
1. Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork hoped to play, as he worked out for trainers in the 10 o’clock hour, but his injured foot is not ready. This is another reason why the Patriots would benefit greatly from clinching a playoff berth today so a player like Wilfork could have three weeks of rest heading into the playoffs.
2. Defensive lineman Ty Warren is active, but will not start. The Patriots will apparently see how the game unfolds in terms of how they use Warren. Mike Wright is expected to start at left end, with rookie Ron Brace or Myron Pryor at nose tackle.
3. Running back Fred Taylor is active for the first time since Oct. 4, when he injured his right ankle. The Patriots deactivated BenJarvus Green-Ellis, so they’ll need to juggle some parts on special teams.
4. With offensive lineman Nick Kaczur (shoulder) inactive, rookie Sebastian Vollmer will start at right tackle.
5. Cornerbacks Terrence Wheatley and Darius Butler are inactive, which is partially a result of special teams considerations. Cornerback Kyle Arrington has been impressive on special teams, so he gets the nod and is bumped up the depth chart on defense because of it.
6. Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis, one of the team’s best defenders, is active. He was questionable with a groin injury.
"This weekend, we were talking a little bit and I asked him if he was going to play and didn’t get a response back," Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said Tuesday on a conference call. "I kind of figured it was a 'yeah.'"
Jones-Drew said it will be exciting to be on the opposite side of the field from Taylor. He added that Taylor has molded him into the player he is, and the two still work out together in the offseason.
"It's going to be real emotional, because there are 10 or 12 of us who Fred kind of raised into the league," Jones-Drew said. "When I got here, Fred came to me with open arms. He said, 'I'm willing to teach you if you're willing to learn and listen.' To hear one of the best players at the position say something like that, it kind of turned our relationship into what it is now."
1. Quarterback Tom Brady, who was questionable with right shoulder/right finger/rib injuries, is active as expected.
2. Rookie offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (head) and rookie receiver Julian Edelman (forearm) are active after both did not play in the last two games.
3. Veteran cornerback Shawn Springs, who did not play in the team’s last four games, is active.
4. With interior sub rusher Myron Pryor (chest) out, the Patriots have Titus Adams replacing him on the 45-man game-day roster. With Ron Brace also inactive, the team has Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Jarvis Green, Mike Wright and Adams atop the defensive line depth chart.
5. With special teams captain Sam Aiken inactive, Edelman projects as the No. 3 receiver. Aiken’s special teams duties will likely be split up, with safety Pat Chung one player to watch in some of those key roles.
6. On the offensive line, the Patriots have a different group -- position-wise -- than they have had all season. With Stephen Neal (ankle) and Rich Ohrnberger inactive, the Patriots don’t have a “pure” interior backup. Instead, they have two tackles as backups. In the event that a starting guard or center is injured, the Patriots would likely have to make multiple changes. Nick Kaczur is one option at guard in the event of an emergency.
7. Running back Fred Taylor, who warmed up for about an hour before the game, was deemed not ready for action. It appeared that he was a game-time decision as he continues his recovery from right ankle surgery.
Taylor, who injured his right ankle Oct. 4 against Baltimore, underwent surgery Oct. 8. He has not played since.
Taylor was questionable on the team's injury report this week.
In situations like these, the player usually tests the injury and then there is a discussion with the medical and training staff before making a final call.
Brady's wife delivered the couple's son Tuesday. Brady was present at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday morning, holding his regularly scheduled press conference.
The other players not spotted at the start of practice were running back Fred Taylor, defensive lineman Myron Pryor and defensive lineman Ty Warren.
Media members were present for stretching and agility drills before departing. With snow and rain in the region, the practice was held inside the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse.
Taylor, who hurt the ankle on his final fourth-quarter carry against the Ravens on Oct. 4, has missed the team's last seven games. Figuring there was a chance he could return late in the season, the Patriots held his roster spot instead of placing him on season-ending injured reserve.
Taylor is still unlikely to play this Sunday in Miami, as it is commonplace for injured players to return on a Friday with the following week's game in mind.
Thus, barring a setback, the Dec. 13 home game against Carolina seems like a more likely date for his possible return.
EXTRA POINT: Safety Bret Lockett was the only player on the 53-man active roster not present at today's practice.
Lockett is a core special-teams player, playing on the punt return, punt coverage, kickoff return, and kickoff coverage units. He is a gunner on the punt coverage team, lining up wide and often the first player down the field.
Elsewhere on the injury front, veteran running back Fred Taylor (ankle) remained out of practice Thursday while 16 players -- a group including rookie left tackle Sebastian Vollmer (head) -- were limited. Safety Pat Chung (head) was removed from the injury report.
On the Dolphins side, starting center Jake Grove missed his second day of practice with an ankle injury. Grove was signed this offseason, in part, to square off against Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork. So his availability is an important development to follow.
FOXBOROUGH -- The Patriots ruled veteran running back Fred Taylor out for Monday's game and listed 17 players as questionable, a group including offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (head). Vollmer did not practice Friday or Saturday.
Players who are questionable have a 50-50 chance of suiting up for action.
The Patriots' report:
RB Fred Taylor (ankle)
WR Sam Aiken (hip)
LB Eric Alexander (groin)
TE Chris Baker (shoulder)
OLB Tully Banta-Cain (groin)
NT Ron Brace (ankle)
S Pat Chung (head)
WR Julian Edelman (forearm)
DE Jarvis Green (knee)
OT Nick Kaczur (ankle)
C Dan Koppen (knee)
OT Matt Light (knee)
RB Sammy Morris (knee)
G Stephen Neal (head)
LB Rob Ninkovich (knee)
OT Sebastian Vollmer (head)
DE Ty Warren (ankle)
OLB Pierre Woods (groin)
For the Saints, in addition to Porter and Moore listed as doubtful, running back Reggie Bush (knee), cornerback Randall Gay (hamstring), center Jonathan Goodwin (ankle), cornerback Jabari Greer (groin), defensive end Bobby McCray (knee/back) and linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee) are all questionable. Starting guard Carl Nicks (illness) is probable.
While no timetable was provided for Taylor's possible return to action, Belichick's remarks highlighted that the 12-year veteran remains on positive course and there have been no setbacks in his recovery from surgery (Oct. 8).
Taylor was present in the locker room for the second straight day Saturday but declined to comment after saying that he doesn't want to talk until he does something on the field.
It looks like that time is getting closer.
While Taylor had a travel bag in front of his locker, it would seem unlikely that he'd play Monday night in New Orleans because he hasn't practiced heading into the weekend. [updated 3:35 p.m. -- Taylor has been ruled out for the game.]