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WRs Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins OUT

The Patriots have downgraded the two rookies to OUT for tomorrow's game.

Jared Wickerham

The Patriots shorthand just got shorter. Rookie wide receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson have both been downgraded to OUT for tomorrow's game against the Miami Dolphins.

Thompkins hurt his hip in the first quarter against the Texans in week 13, coming down awkwardly after extending to make a reception. Thompkins tried to play the next down, but hobbled off the field and remained sidelined. He missed last week against the Browns.

Dobson was pulled from the Broncos game in week 12 and was found wearing a boot. His foot injury prevented him from practicing until this week, making the game against Miami the third week in a row that he's missed.

With both of the rookie receivers out, the Patriots will lean on fellow rookie Josh Boyce to pick up some of the slack as the outside receiver. Boyce is dangerous in open space, but he plays a much different game than the other rookies.

The Patriots will also be without All Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, which means the main receivers on the team will be Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Boyce, Austin Collie, and primary special teams player Matthew Slater. Edelman, Amendola, and Collie all play an extremely similar style of game, and Boyce's skill set is more similar to Amendola's than it is to Dobson or Thompkins. Expect the Patriots to run multiple sets of similar routes as each remaining receiver will be able to play the same role.

Behind the receiver position, the tight ends Michael Hoomanawanui, Matthew Mulligan, D.J. Williams, and fullback James Develin all remain options for two or three targets over the course of the game. All the running backs, especially Shane Vereen, should expect to see larger roles.