Today's big news item is the Patriots ruling out starting center Bryan Stork for the game. It was a decision that everyone expected since Stork did not participate in practice on Monday and Tuesday. Rich Hill briefly touched on the topic earlier this week. In addition to Stork, the Patriots announced that Tavon Wilson, Trey Flowers, and Travaris Cadet are questionable for the game against the Steelers.
Update: Stork has been placed on injured reserve with a designated to return tag, so he'll be out for 7 more weeks. Stork has had three reported concussions in the last three years, so the team is doing the right thing and being extra cautious here, even though he passed a concussion test this week.
Tavon Wilson had been practicing in a limited capacity, so it's not completely out of the equation if he is ruled inactive. Wilson likely would have played a dime role with the team, but given the Steelers suspensions to their receiving corps they might not even run a lot of dime packages anyway. Given how important Wilson is on Special Teams, that would be a big blow in that department if he can't go and puts more pressure on the guys filling in that role.
Flowers and Cadet were full participants this week, so I expect to see them active for the game. The Patriots are very deep at defensive end, so Flowers was a potential healthy scratch pick. The same story holds true for Cadet as a receiving back, although the position is more unsettled than defensive end. Flowers was the Patriots' 3rd best defensive end behind Rufus Johnson and Chandler Jones according to Pro Football focus and Flowers' productivity on a per snap basis was right with Jones. I currently have him as the 4th defensive end on the depth chart behind Jones, Jabaal Sheard, and Rob Ninkovich and we could see him play inside on passing downs due to his leng
Cadet offers value on Special Teams, so even if he doesn't play much of a role on the offense he is still worth playing. He has plenty of experience as a return man, but I could see the Patriots have him chase kickoffs. With Danny Amendola likely due for an increase in snaps on offense, we may see Cadet take on the return role for Week 1.