New England Patriots: NFL injury wire
Collins had missed Friday's practice and did not travel with the team to Minnesota. Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard also returned to practice Wednesday after being a surprise scratch on Sunday (left shoulder).
Linebacker Darius Fleming, who is now on the practice squad, was back to wearing his No. 58 jersey. New practice squad members Caylin Hauptmann and Kona Schwenke were at practice. Hauptmann was wearing No. 68 and Schwenke had on a No. 97 jersey.
There was also a player wearing a No. 41 jersey.
The Patriots give black jerseys to the practice players of the week, which signify the players who best prepared the team leading up to a victory as determined by the coaching staff. Tight end Tim Wright, wide receiver Josh Boyce, running back Jonas Gray, defensive lineman Joe Vellano and linebacker Ja'Gared Davis all wore black jerseys Wednesday.
Siliga injured his left wrist Aug. 5 in a joint practice with Washington. The Boston Herald later reported that the injury was a sprain.
Siliga's return comes one day after the release of veteran defensive linemen Tommy Kelly and Will Smith. Siliga stretched with his teammates before doing rehab work on the lower field.
In addition to Siliga, offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer and undrafted rookie linebacker Cameron Gordon returned to practice Monday. Vollmer missed three straight practices last week (the Boston Globe reported he had a foot injury that was not considered serious) and did not dress for Friday’s 30-7 preseason win over the Carolina Panthers. Gordon participated in the first six practices of training camp before being sidelined with an undisclosed injury.
Defensive tackles Ben Bass and Chris Jones and offensive lineman Chris Martin (non-football injury list) were also not spotted at the start of practice.
The Patriots were practicing in full pads.
The injury came on a running play late in the second quarter when fellow defensive tackle Marcus Forston rolled into his left leg as he was blocked by offensive linemen Spencer Long and Tom Compton. Jones' left leg bent awkwardly and members of the team's medical and athletic training staff took a look at Jones' lower leg area, including his knee, as he remained down after the play.
Jones initially needed help walking to the sideline, and after a brief stop on the team's bench, he walked slowly on his own to the locker room alongside members of the athletic training staff.
The Patriots' depth at defensive tackle has been thinned over the past few days, as Sealver Siliga is expected to miss time after injuring his left hand in Tuesday's practice. Now Jones is expected to be sidelined for the near future, but the initial indication is that he has avoided a more serious long-term injury.
Siliga & Williams sidelined. Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga and tight end D.J. Williams did not participate in the walk-through after getting injured in Tuesday's practice. Siliga was spotted with a black cast on his left hand on Tuesday, while Williams was rolled up on a running play on Tuesday and was wearing a black sleeve over his lower right leg on Wednesday. Neither player is expected to play in Thursday's preseason opener. At tight end, that should mean extended repetitions for undrafted free agents Justin Jones (6-foot-8, 275 pounds) and Asa Watson (6-3, 240).
Washington starters for eight to 10 plays. Washington coach Jay Gruden said he expects his top players on the field for eight to 10 plays against the Patriots in the preseason opener. He added that while he and Bill Belichick worked together to script joint practices, there is no such arrangement as to how they will approach Thursday's preseason opener. After Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson "twisted his ankle just a hair" in Wednesday's walk-through, it could take a Jackson vs. Darrelle Revis matchup off the table.
Browner with extended practice reps. Veteran cornerback Brandon Browner took extended practice reps in the walk-through, staying on the field with some lesser-experienced players. As Paul Perillo of Patriots Football Weekly pointed out, that could mean we see a bit more of Browner on Thursday as he could perhaps benefit from extended reps from a conditioning standpoint and also because he will miss the first four games of the regular season due to suspension.
Media interviews. In addition to backup quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo, safety Patrick Chung, running back Roy Finch, and receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell were among those speaking with reporters after practice.
Throwback feel at joint practice: Safety Devin McCourty said getting off the bus and walking on to the practice field felt a little bit like he was back in high school. McCourty and several other teammates seemed pleased with the work against Washington, with defensive lineman Vince Wilfork saying, “We had no problems. We worked well together. It was a physical practice.” Cornerback Darrelle Revis said he had never practiced against another team but liked the atmosphere. “It’s almost like game speed,” he said. Getting accustomed to the wet practice fields, with grass that wasn’t as long as the Gillette Stadium fields back home, was an adjustments players said they had to make. The heat and humidity rose toward the end of practice.
Focusing on the offensive line in 1-on-1 drills: With two sets of pass-rush drills going on at the same time -- Patriots rushers vs. Washington offensive line and Patriots offensive line vs. Washington rushers -- a choice had to be made which area to watch. We picked the offensive line, because that’s one of our greatest areas of interest. The Redskins edge rushers had the overall edge, which isn’t a huge surprise considering Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are excellent players and there isn't a huge film-study element to these practices. Orakpo gained the edge on left tackle Nate Solder twice. I think Solder was a little surprised at Orakpo’s quickness. On the interior, rookie Bryan Stork remains sidelined and so Ryan Wendell, Braxston Cave and Jordan Devey took snaps at center. Wendell vs. Barry Cofield was a good matchup, with Cofield lining up shaded off Wendell’s right shoulder. Wendell hung tough in what I’d call two stalemates, while it looked like right guard Dan Connolly had arguably the most success of anyone on the interior, perhaps because he wasn’t facing big-time competition in thwarting Jarvis Jenkins and Clifton Geathers. Second-year player Chris Barker also hung tough. Rookies Jon Halapio and Cameron Fleming took some lumps, getting knocked out of their pass-blocking sets at times.
Cleaning out the notebook: At one point in practice, Miami alums Wilfork and Brandon Meriweather caught up on the sideline for an extended period of time, while not far away, Tom Brady and DeAngelo Hall had a long conversation. … Saw a little more of linebacker Dont'a Hightower rushing the passer in this practice. … Marcus Cannon worked at both tackle spots after spending time at right guard in some previous practices. ... Coverage from slot cornerback Kyle Arrington was solid on Pierre Garcon on one long incomplete pass, and later in the 11-on-11 drill, Arrington and receiver Andre Roberts were chirping at each other quite a bit as the competitive level rose. … With a heavy focus on situations, observers could hear Bill Belichick’s voice calling out down and distance and players had to react. … Backup quarterback Ryan Mallett was unsuccessful on multiple long pass attempts and at one point was intercepted by safety Bacarri Rambo. … Plenty of special teams work in the practice, mostly focused on kickoffs. … Undrafted tight end Asa Watson and Edelman were among those players who had drops. … Good hit by rookie safety Travis Hawkins caught the eye, and ear, in 11-on-11 drills. … Undrafted rookie Taylor McCuller is switching between linebacker and fullback, at one point changing his blue defensive jersey for a white offensive jersey.
Who returned: Running back Roy Finch (knocked out of Friday night’s practice midway through); linebacker Deontae Skinner (activated off non-football injury list).
New absences: Gronkowski.
Who else didn’t practice: Running back Brandon Bolden (unknown, participated in first eight practices); receiver Aaron Dobson (foot/PUP), Stork (lower leg, left midway through fifth practice); offensive tackle Chris Martin (non-football-injury list), defensive lineman Dominique Easley (non-football-injury list), receiver Jeremy Gallon (unknown/PUP), defensive back Jemea Thomas (unknown, only practiced Day 1), linebacker Cameron Gordon (unknown, participated in first six practices), Hoomanawanui (unknown, participated in first four practices).
Notable injuries/health-related incidents: Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly took himself out of 11-on-11 drills at one point, but it didn’t appear to be too serious. He did end-of-practice jogging, but we’ll keep an eye on him Tuesday.
Who’s talking with the media: Linebackers Hightower and Jerod Mayo; McCourty; Revis; Wilfork; defensive ends Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones.
Stork, the fourth-round pick out of Florida State, is competing for a starting job with incumbent Ryan Wendell and veteran Dan Connolly. He appeared to suffer a lower-leg injury midway through Tuesday’s practice and walked off with members of the athletic training staff and did not return.
Speaking in general terms in his Wednesday morning news conference, Bill Belichick touched on how missed practice time in training camp can be extremely tough for young players to recover from.
“With the limited number of practices we have now, relative to what we had in the 80s when I was with the Giants -- we were in the 50s number of practices before the first game -- now we’re at half that, maybe a little less,” Belichick said. “So if a player with no experience isn’t able to participate and misses two weeks, 5, 6, 8, 10 practices whatever it is, that’s like missing half of training camp. It’s a lot of ground to make up.”
With Stork not on the field, Wendell (6-2, 300), Connolly (6-4, 305) and first-year player Braxston Cave (6-3, 305) will likely take the bulk of the center repetitions.
A few other notes and sound bites from Belichick and the Patriots:
- Belichick called this the “grinding through camp” period for the team. He is attempting to create stress for the players, which is part of establishing a strong foundation for any team, and that is reflected in how Wednesday’s practice is once again being held in full pads.
- Asked about former Brown University fullback James Develin by a Providence-based television station, Belichick compared his role to a relief pitcher in baseball. You never quite know going into a game what situation he might be used, but he fills a valuable role. Belichick also mentioned Develin’s impressive 1-yard touchdown run against the Texans last season in which he broke four tackles in a remarkable effort.
- Receiver Josh Boyce, who reporters spotted walking off the field Tuesday with a limp, is not present at practice this morning. Linebacker Chris White is also a new absence.
ESPN.com NFL Insider Field Yates reports that cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder), receivers Aaron Dobson (foot) and Jeremy Gallon (unknown), defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (torn ACL) and special teams captain Matthew Slater (unknown) have opened training camp on the active/physically-unable-to-perform list. This means they are not yet fully cleared.
Those players can come off the active/PUP list at any time. This makes it different than the reserve/PUP list during the season, which sidelines a player for at least the first six weeks.
Source: Patriots CB Alfonzo Dennard, WR Aaron Dobson, WR Jeremy Gallon, DT Tommy Kelly & ST/WR Matt Slater to begin camp on PUP.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 21, 2014
Furthermore, Yates reports that first-round draft choice Dominique Easley (torn ACL), running back Roy Finch, linebacker Deontae Skinner and offensive tackle Chris Martin are opening camp on the active/non-football injury list. This means they are not yet fully cleared.
Similar to the active/PUP list, those players can come off the list at any time. One difference between the non-football injury list is that it includes players who sustained an injury before they arrived in the NFL.
Source: Patriots DL Dominique Easley, RB Roy Finch, LB Deontae Skinner & T Chris Martin have been placed on the non-football injury list.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 21, 2014
At this time, the Patriots have not placed defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (ruptured Achilles) or tight end Rob Gronkowski (torn ACL) on the PUP list. It is our understanding that still remains an option for the team before Thursday's opening practice.
With that in mind, below is a brief overview of some of the major injuries to monitor this offseason among Patriots that remain under contract through at least the 2014 season:
Tight end Rob Gronkowski. The burly tight end tore his ACL in a matchup against the Browns, undergoing surgery in early January. The timeframe for recovery from such an injury varies by the patient, but a rough estimate is eight months. As of now, Gronkowski's status for the start of next season is not yet known.
Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. A torn Achilles' tendon shut down Wilfork after just four games, but if such a thing as a silver-lining exists in the situation, it's that the injury happened early enough in the season to provide him ample recovery time. He was spotted on the sidelines during the season moving around and walking, and it seems reasonable to expect he'll be ready for training camp.
Linebacker Jerod Mayo. Mayo tore his pectoral muscle early in the season, missing the final 10 regular season games. Like Wilfork, it seems reasonable to expect Mayo back on the field for training camp.
Offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer. The standout right tackle had his season cut in half due to a broken leg. His return would help to re-solidify the offensive line, which will now be coached by Dave DeGuglielmo.
Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. Kelly joined Wilfork on injured reserve after injuring his knee against the Bengals in what turned out to be a torn ACL. With extensive time to recover, a return for training camp would also seem likely.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola. After injuring his groin in Week 1, Amendola battled the severely painful injury throughout the season. While he didn't meet production-based expectations in 2013, the pain he played through should not be overlooked.
Defensive tackle Armond Armstead. The intriguing young defensive tackle underwent surgery to repair an infection just before training camp, causing him to miss the full season. He remains a little bit of an unknown to this point, but, if healthy, could be a contributor along the defensive front.
The list above highlights only some of the major injuries that impacted the Patriots this season, as the team deals with an incredible number of games lost due to health issues. There also may be other injury issues that appear in the offseason that we are not currently aware of.
As the team is not required to release injury information during the offseason, there's only so much we know about the various injuries. If any information does come along, we'll be sure to pass it along.
For now, this list shows injuries to keep an eye on this offseason.
Upon exiting, Talib went to the locker room multiple times, while also continuing to work out and jog on the sidelines in anticipation of a possible return. That never happened, however, as he stayed out of the game. After originally reporting it to be a rib injury, the Patriots later clarified it was his knee that was hurt.
"If I could be out there, I would've been out there, man," Talib said after the game.
Talib was injured on a play in which former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker collided with him on an underneath route in which no penalty was called.
"That was a key play in the game," Patriots coach Bill Belichick deadpanned after the game.
"I can't even remember how the play went," Talib said following the loss.
Without its Pro Bowl cornerback, the banged-up Patriots secondary was picked apart by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his cast of star receivers. Manning had 289 of his 400 yards passing after Talib left and at one point completed 14 straight throws.
"It was very tough," cornerback Alfonzo Dennard said about the loss of Talib. "After he went out, they attacked. It was very hard."
That leaves rookie Ryan Allen is the lone punter on the roster. As reported earlier in the week, the hope was that he would be available on Sunday and nothing changed over the team's week of practice to alter that expectation.
Allen sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder in the second quarter of the team's divisional-round playoff win over the Colts and has been limited in practice all week.
Also, with rookie receivers Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (concussion/hip) questionable for Sunday's AFC Championship, one line of thinking was that the Patriots might consider promoting a practice squad receiver. They did not do so for this game, which could be a positive sign for the availability of Dobson and/or Thompkins.
Aside from Beauharnais, there was full attendance at practice, including the third straight day of work for both wide receiver Aaron Dobson and punter Ryan Allen.
Dobson, who had not practiced following a Week 17 injury until this past Wednesday, said earlier Friday in the locker room, “Right now, I feel like it's OK. I have to do what I have to do. I'm trying not to think about it, go out there and do what I can do, and do it the best I can.”
Allen, meanwhile, has toughed through a sprained AC joint this week, which was suffered in a divisional round win against the Colts.
Head coach Bill Belichick spoke to Allen's mental toughness on Friday morning in handling adverse circumstances during his rookie season.
"Mentally, he's shown a lot of toughness and competitiveness to do what he needs to do, whether it be wind, rain, snow, cold, what have you," he said.
The Patriots practiced in helmets and shells for their final on-field tuneup before traveling to Denver later today.
“I don't really know what my situation is going to be this weekend, but I'll go out there today, see how it feels, and go from there,” he said Friday before the team's morning practice.
The Patriots are leaving for Denver later on Friday.
Dobson, who injured the foot in the season finale Dec. 29 and didn't play in the divisional round of the playoffs, has been limited in practices on Wednesday and Thursday.
As for how much the foot is limiting him, he said: “Right now, I feel like it's OK. I have to do what I have to do. I'm trying not to think about it, go out there and do what I can do, and do it the best I can.”
Dobson said he's stayed mentally sharp by taking “mental reps” but acknowledged it was tough not being able to play last Saturday against the Colts.
“It was hard, just to watch my team battle without me,” he said. “They pulled it out so I'm glad to get another opportunity to hopefully get back out on the field this Sunday.”
Guard Logan Mankins (ankle), cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (knee/shoulder), running back Shane Vereen (groin) and linebacker Dane Fletcher (groin) all practiced in full on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday.
The Patriots did not have any players missing from practice, as both punter Ryan Allen (shoulder) and wide receiver Aaron Dobson (foot) each practiced again, both on a limited basis.
Dobson, the team’s biggest receiver, returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since the start of the playoffs, and his return to game action would give the Patriots size in the red zone. He posted 37 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games this season.
Allen, meanwhile, continues to recover from a shoulder injury suffered on Saturday night, but as of now looks like he will be able to suit up on Sunday afternoon.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was one of two players not present for the first of three days of on-field prep for this Sunday's AFC championship game against the Broncos. He missed the practice session with an illness.
Long snapper Danny Aiken, who was also sick, was the only other player not to practice.
A total of 10 players, including punter Ryan Allen (shoulder), who was injured Saturday, were limited in practice. Allen was forced to leave the game against the Colts, though the Patriots have not worked out or signed any other punters this week, a sign that Allen is aiming to play Sunday.
Wide receiver Aaron Dobson returned to practice for the first time since leaving Week 17 with another foot injury (he previously missed four games with a foot issue), practicing on a limited basis.
Linebacker Dont'a Hightower was a new addition to the injury report with an ankle issue that limited him.
Wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, who left Saturday's game as well, suffered a concussion, which limited him during Wednesday's workout.