A look at the Patriots' inactive players and what it could mean for others on the roster:
With RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis out, the Patriots go with four running backs – Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, LaMont Jordan and Heath Evans. Special teams are likely a top consideration with Green-Ellis, as he doesn’t play on many of the kicking units.
With C/G Billy Yates and OT Wesley Britt out, the Patriots enter today with eight linemen, which is a slight change from the norm. They usually have seven linemen. The eighth today is C/G Dan Connolly, which could be an indication that C/G Russ Hochstein will again be used in a fullback-type role and the Patriots want some more depth there.
With Matt Gutierrez the third quarterback, rookie Kevin O’Connell continues to serve as the second quarterback. O’Connell has been No. 2 since the second week of the season.
With DE Richard Seymour out, the Patriots lose their starting right end and their sack leader (8). Four-year veteran Mike Wright and seven-year veteran Jarvis Green are the candidates to play in Seymour’s place.
With CB/S Lewis Sanders out, the Patriots are without their fill-in starter at safety the last two weeks. Sanders also has been part of nickel (5 defensive backs) and dime packages (6 defensive backs) this season. The return of starter James Sanders at safety fills the spot in the 3-4 alignment, while Deltha O’Neal and Mike Richardson project to be the top defensive backs in sub packages.
With LB Tedy Bruschi out for the third straight game, the Patriots are without their starter on the strong side in the 3-4 alignment. Gary Guyton and Junior Seau are the options to step in.
With S/WR Ray Ventrone out, the Patriots lose a speedy presence on special teams. His void is likely to be filled by a variety of players, such as Antwain Spann, Mike Richardson, Heath Evans and Kelley Washington.