Depleted linebackers aren’t backing down

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FOXBOROUGH —With the Patriots getting ready to open their postseason with a divisional-round game Saturday night against the Colts, the team is dangerously thin at linebacker. It includes Dont’a Hightower, a second-year pro from Alabama; Dane Fletcher, who’s made more of an impact on special teams; rookie Jamie Collins, who has no sacks, no interceptions, and no fumbles, either forced or recovered; and seldom-used reserves in Chris White and Steve Beauharnais.

There are other key positions that have been affected by injury during a season that somehow has the Patriots two wins from the Super Bowl. Defensive line, offensive line, and tight end come to mind. But if the linebackers room has suddenly grown quiet, everyone who pulls for the Patriots would probably understand why.

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