The New England Patriots received several player back from injuries on the first practice after the preseason victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, and the most notable returns were at cornerback. Both Alfonzo Dennard and Ras-I Dowling missed the game against the Eagles, which tested the Patriots depth at corner and gave younger guys more time. That’s definitely not a bad thing in the preseason, but this could be a huge issue in the regular season if Dennard is suspended and the injury-prone Dowling gets injured again. But let’s stick to the bright side and move away from conjecture, because Dennard and Dowling were both able to get at least limited practice in yesterday.
Veteran wide receiver Michael Jenkins also made his return to the practice field and was also limited, and Jenkins really needs to step it up if he wants to make this roster. Right now, he might not even be ahead of Kamar Aiken, and he clearly looks on the outside of the bubble. The only way I can see Jenkins making the roster is if the Patriots decide to keep seven receivers or if someone gets injured.
Safety Nate Ebner should make the roster, but the ace special teamer is still on the bubble right now. The Patriots also received almost all of their injured offensive linemen back, so they won’t be forced to play Will Svitek at guard against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (they could if that’s a legitimate plan of theirs, though). Dan Connolly, Markus Zusevics, Tyronne Green, and Kevin Haslam all returned.
Jason Vega is somebody new to add to the list, and the rookie CFL star at defensive end has had a quiet camp. That’s not really a good thing, but I think Vega’s spot on the practice squad is safe. Mark Harrison, Armond Armstead, Marcus Cannon, Jermaine Cunningham, and Rob Gronkowski were all absent yesterday.
Ryan Mallett also returned to practice after a minor head injury during Friday’s preseason game.
Tags: Alfonzo Dennard Armond Armstead Dan Connolly Jason Vega Jermaine Cunningham Kevin Haslam Marcus Cannon Mark Harrison Markus Zusevics Michael Jenkins Nate Ebner New England Patriots NFL Offseason Ras-I Dowling Rob Gronkowski Ryan Mallett Tyronne Green