PITTSBURGH – The Patriots this evening downgraded guard Stephen Neal (shoulder), running back Fred Taylor (toe) and nose tackle Myron Pryor from questionable to out for Sunday’s game against the Steelers.
Neal, the starting right guard, is the big blow. He’s one of the Patriots’ top run blocker. The Steelers have the league’s top run defense.
Logan Mankins will now likely go a full game at left guard and Dan Connolly, who started at left guard the first seven games while Mankins didn’t sign his restricted tender, could get the call at right guard. Connolly started four games at right guard for Neal last season.
Pryor is a good inside pass rusher. Gerard Warren, who hasn’t started since Oct. 4 against Miami will likely see his playing time increased.
Taylor will miss his sixth-straight game.
For the Steelers, standout linebacker James Harrison is now listed as questionable with back spasms.