New England Patriots: Sammy Morris Iii
The Patriots on Saturday downgraded running back Sammy Morris (knee) to out for Sunday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Morris, along with several other players who had been nursing injuries, was present at practice on Friday and there was some speculation that he might play on Sunday.
"It was certainly good to see most of the guys out there, running around, participating," coach Bill Belichick said after Friday's practice. "Some of those, of course, will be game-time decisions. We'll see how things turned out after practice here and find out how these guys are doing. But it was definitely good to have them back out there, no doubt."
With Morris out, that leaves the Patriots with Laurence Maroney, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Kevin Faulk at running back.
Morris, who had been seen walking without a limp and was listed as questionable in Friday's injury report, could return to game action in Week 11 against the Jets.
In an encouraging sign for the Patriots on the injury front, left tackle Matt Light, center Dan Koppen, running back Sammy Morris, receiver Julian Edelman and safety Brandon Meriweather were present for the start of the team's Friday practice inside the Dana-Farber Field House.
Light has been out since the team's Oct. 11 loss to Denver with a right knee injury and Morris (knee) and Edelman (forearm) have not played since being injured in an Oct. 18 victory over Tennessee. Koppen left last Sunday's win over the Dolphins with a knee injury and Meriweather, who played every snap Sunday, had missed the last two days of practice with a foot injury.
As expected, two sets of speakers were set up along the sideline Friday as the Patriots prepared to work in noisy conditions in anticipation of a raucous environment at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sunday night. The Patriots traditionally practice indoors when preparing to play in an indoor venue.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots running back Sammy Morris left Sunday's game against the Titans after sustaining a knee injury on a 3-yard reception in the first quarter and did not return.
Morris slowly walked off the field under his own power but went directly to the locker room with members of the training staff.
A look at the offensive positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their 27-21 win over the Ravens:
2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 27 of 67 snaps
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 19 of 67
2 WR/1 TE/2 RB -- 11 of 67
1 WR/2 TE/2 RB -- 4 of 67
3 WR/2 RB -- 4 of 67
3 TE/2 RB -- 1 of 67
1 WR/3 TE/1 RB -- 1 of 67
ANALYSIS: The struggles of Joey Galloway, who was a healthy scratch, seemed to dictate how the Patriots utilized their personnel. Without a pure No. 3 receiver, the Patriots didn't lean as heavily on their base three-receiver set. Instead, they tapped into the versatility of their tight ends and running backs, playing 32 snaps with multiple tight ends and 20 with two backs. The backs were often used as receivers. Sammy Morris's 12-yard touchdown run came out of the unconventional 2 WR/1 TE/2 RB grouping.
The Patriots have not been a big two-back team the last few years, instead spreading the field with three receivers and using a single running back.
With Evans now in New Orleans and Hochstein now in Denver, how have the Patriots filled his void?
In the season opener, running back Sammy Morris served as the lead-blocking fullback. Morris was on the field for four plays in that role and here were the results (stats don't include one time Morris motioned out of the backfield into a receiver, or two other times he was lined up as a single back):
There was disappointment in not being able to convert the fourth-and-1 on the fourth play of the game. On the flip side, Taylor's 1-yard touchdown run came with Morris as a lead blocker, as he had a nice block on safety Bryan Scott.
Morris (6-0, 220) was occasionally used in the lead-blocking role last year. In some ways, it takes him back to his roots.
"Technically, that's what I was drafted to do," said Morris, who was a fifth-round selection of the Bills in 2000. "But I ended up being a tailback. It was the same thing when I signed with Miami [in 2004]. I was supposed to be a fullback but ended up switching there too."
Although he didn't have a carry in Monday's season-opener, Morris could still factor into the Patriots' running back mix. He said he's happy to do whatever it takes to help the team win.