The New England Patriots released their inactive list this morning:
Twitter post – Zuri Berry
The Patriots inactives that were not a surprise at all were linebacker Darius Fleming, center Bryan Stork, defensive tackle Chris Jones, defensive end Michael Buchanan. Jones and Buchanan are injured. Stork is getting back to speed after missing much of camp to injury and was not expected to play with veterans Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly having moved ahead of him on the depth chart. Fleming just barely made the cut to make the roster and was an expected inactive. This means rookie tackle Cameron Fleming is active and maybe there is a tackle (Sebastian Vollmer or Marcus Cannon) starting at guard.
The news of left guard Josh Kline on the inactives list was surprising as he was expected to be competing to replace Logan Mankins at the position. This is great news for versatile guard/tackle Jordan Devey–a star of training camp–being on the game day roster and in the running for a starting role.
The most shocking inactives listed are wide receiver Aaron Dobson and rookie running back James White. Dobson was still recovering from offseason foot surgery throughout training camp but played in the final preseason game. Perhaps the foot injury is not quite ready to play. Perhaps he had a setback. Maybe it is just the matchup against Miami. For whatever reason, Dobson–the top draft pick on offense last season–is inactive today.
James White was taken in the fourth round of the NFL Draft and was expected to play a major role in the offense. At Wisconsin, he showed skills running, receiving and blocking and seemed a perfect fit. He may still play a big role in 2014, but as he looked like he was still thinking and not reacting during preseason, he did not make the cut for game one.
For New England, having defensive tackle Sealver Siliga is a plus, as he was their best defensive tackle in the playoffs last season. Also, all the safeties are active as Tavon Wilson, Duron Harmon, and Patrick Chung are all active and that may mean that they all spend time in the secondary today.
At the end of the day, the good news is that tight end Rob Gronkowski and quarterback Tom Brady–both listed as questionable–are on the active roster. Those two are the most important players on the injury report and their presence is key to New England coming out of Miami with an opening game victory.