Projecting the Patriots' inactives

November, 22, 2012
The Patriots opted not to conduct a practice this week in advance of their Thursday night showdown with the Jets, but they still provided a sample injury report that indicates where some of their injured players are in their recovery.

Using that template as a baseline and taking some educated guesses, here's a projection of the team's seven inactive players for Thursday night in New York:

Tight end Rob Gronkowski
Reason: Health
Quick-hit: The Patriots are hopeful that Gronkowski proves to be a fast healer, but he'll miss his first game of his career due to a broken forearm suffered in Week 11.

Defensive end Chandler Jones
Reason: Health
Quick-hit: We know very little about the nature of Jones' injury other than that it is related to his ankle and it will cost him to miss Thursday night. Expect Jermaine Cunningham to be called upon to start in his place.

Guard Logan Mankins
Reason: Health
Quick-hit: Reserve lineman Donald Thomas is in line for his third consecutive start as Mankins continues to deal with calf and ankle issues.

Guard Dan Connolly
Reason: Health
Quick-hit: The Patriots counted Connolly amongst their limited participants during Tuesday's walkthrough (he's questionable for the game), but a back issue could keep him out for another game and pair Thomas with Nick McDonald as starters along the line.

Safety Patrick Chung
Reason: A shoulder injury continues to bother Chung, and he is once again questionable for this week. Look for Devin McCourty to start alongside Steve Gregory again in Week 12.

Jake Bequette
Reason: Depth
Quick-hit: Even with Jones out, Bequette doesn't seem quite ready to contribute on a regular basis. Look for Justin Francis, who was inactive last week, to dress instead.

Defensive tackle Ron Brace
Reason: Health/depth
Quick-hit: Brace was active in Week 11, but played just a limited defensive role. Because of injuries at other positions, notably the Jones injury at defensive end, the Patriots could create an open spot for depth by sitting Brace this week.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.



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