The following players were ruled inactive for Sunday’s game against the Bills: offensive lineman Dan Connolly; linebacker Jermaine Cunningham; tight end Aaron Hernandez; wide receiver Taylor Price; running back Thomas Clayton; and defensive linemen Myron Pryor, Mike Wright and Brandon Deaderick.
The Patriots made most of these moves on Saturday — Connolly (concussion), Cunningham (calf), Hernandez (hip), Pryor (back), Wright (concussion) and Deaderick (shoulder) were all on the injury report late in the week, and were all ruled out on Saturday night. As for Clayton and Price, the two have been inactive for the bulk of the season because of personnel issues.
The three missing defensive linemen mean that it will likely be a long afternoon again for veterans Gerard Warren and Vince Wilfork, who went almost wire-to-wire last week against the Packers because of all the injuries along the defensive line and will almost certainly do the same today because of depth issues. (They should get plenty of help from second-year lineman Ron Brace, who will also be active this week.) At linebacker, look for lots of Rob Ninkovich and even some Dane Fletcher on the outside, because there’s no Banta-Cain and Cunningham.
On the offensive side of the ball, tight end Rob Gronkowski will be utilized more in the passing game because Hernandez is sidelined. As for the offensive line, look for Ryan Wendell to take most of the snaps that Connolly would get, while Quinn Ojinnaka moves up on the depth chart among the interior linemen.