Today, the New England Patriots returned to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium to hold their first session of the week and start preparations for their upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills. And as a look at the week's first injury report shows, attendance was not perfect in Foxboro – but nothing compared to the Bills' list of absentees:
Did not participate
Patriots: DT Alan Branch (knee), RB Rex Burkhead (knee)
Bills: LB Lorenzo Alexander (rest), WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), CB E.J. Gaines (knee), WR Andre Holmes (neck), TE Nick O'Leary (back), DT Kyle Williams (groin)
While six members of the Bills were out today, the Patriots were down “only” two: Both defensive tackle Alan Branch and running back Rex Burkhead are expected to miss some time due to their respective knee injuries. Ideally, New England will earn a first round playoff bye to give the two additional rest before postseason contention starts.
Patriots: RB Brandon Bolden (groin), WR Chris Hogan (shoulder), DB Brandon King (hamstring), DE Eric Lee (ankle), WR Matthew Slater (hamstring), LB Kyle Van Noy (calf), OT LaAdrian Waddle (ankle), RB James White (ankle)
Bills: TE Charles Clay (knee), RB LeSean McCoy (knee), OG John Miller (ankle), WR Deonte Thompson (back)
Of the Patriots' eight limited players, six were already listed on last week's practice reports – two are new additions: Brandon Bolden and James White were unable to participate fully today. New England's running back position is one of the deepest on the team but in combination with Burkhead's knee issue, it is currently taking some hits.
From the good news department, the Patriots were able to remove four players off the injury report: Defensive edges Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise Jr. are no longer listed, while David Harris and Stephon Gilmore were also taken off the list.
Bills: QB Nathan Peterman (concussion)
Even though Nathan Peterman returned to practice in full capacity, Tyrod Taylor will – unsurprisingly – remain the team's starting quarterback.