The New England Patriots have received two standouts in the trenches back at practice today after both players have been injured for a chunk of time. Logan Mankins and Chandler Jones look ready to place against a top Houston Texans team on Monday Night Football, and the first hint of their availability at practice today was the fact that they both participated in yesterday’s walkthrough.
It is great news to hear that both key Patriots players are back today, because Mankins is needed to stop a top Texans pass rush. The Texans are also well-regarded for their ability to run the football, because they have 1,000-yard rusher (already this year) Arian Foster and solid backups Ben Tate and Justin Forsett. Chandler Jones has been excellent against the run as a rookie, while the currently healthy backups have not been doing well against the run this season.
The Patriots waived guard Mitch Petrus on Tuesday, and this was the first sign that Mankins would be back soon. Hopefully, the injury that fellow starting guard Dan Connolly suffered on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins is not serious, because the line has been banged up all year. Everyone needs to be healthy against Houston.
The great news is that Connolly is practicing, which goes back to the Pats willingness to get rid of Petrus (claimed by the Tennessee Titans yesterday).
Nick McDonald and Rob Gronkowski were not seen at practice, but Sebastian Vollmer was. Of the two aforementioned players, only Gronk is expected to miss Monday’s game.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.