After two light walkthrough practice sessions last week, the New England Patriots have now started their full on-field preparation for Saturday's divisional playoff game against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs: the team will practice four straight days, Monday through Thursday.
Thanks to their 12-4 record and the second seed in the AFC, the Patriots were granted a bye week while the NFL's wild card playoff games took place. The team obviously used it to get healthier as only one player was not spotted on the field for today's session, which was held outside Gillette Stadium in cold and windy conditions, while the players were in shells: according to multiple media reports, safety and core special teamer Nate Ebner was the lone absentee.
Ebner was last seen with his arm in a cast and is apparently not yet ready to partake in the team's on-field work after suffering an undisclosed injury. While he is a role-player on defense, he is a member of all four special teams units and his abscence would definitely weaken the team in the kicking game.
While Ebner was not on the field today, everybody else was – which means that all offensive and defensive starters were present. While we won't know the exact extent of participations until the first injury report gets released on Wednesday, it is still a great sign to see 52 of the team's 53 active players on the practice field; especially considering all the injuries New England has suffered this year.