The New England Patriots were back on the practice fields today for their third and final session of on-field preparations for the regular season finale against the New York Jets. The Patriots again had four players absent – and for the third straight day, the absentees looked different than the day before:
Patriots: DT Alan Branch (knee, did not participate), RB Rex Burkhead (knee, did not participate), RB Mike Gillislee (knee, did not participate)
Jets: OL Brandon Shell (concussion, did not participate)
The Patriots declared three players out for Sunday's game against the New York Jets. All three did not practice this week, so this does not come as a surprise. While Alan Branch will miss his third straight game, Rex Burkhead will miss his second. Mike Gillislee's absence further weakens New England's running back corps – especially with James White, who was out last week, listed as questionable again.
Jets: TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ribs/foot, did not participate)
Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a solid game against New England in week six, catching eight passes for 46 yards and a touchdown. With him likely out, the Jets will miss one of their better receiving options.
Patriots: WR Chris Hogan (shoulder, limited participation), FS Devin McCourty (shoulder, limited participation), LB Eric Lee (ankle, did not participate), WR Matthew Slater (hamstring, limited participation), LB Kyle Van Noy (calf, limited participation), OT LaAdrian Waddle (ankle, limited participation), RB James White (ankle, limited participation)
Jets: RB Matt Forte (knee, did not participate), RB Akeem Judd (ankle, limited participation)
While linebacker Eric Lee was out today because of his ankle injury, the team still lists him as questionable on today's injury report. He joins those players were limited all week long. It would not be a surprise to see some of them ultimately downgraded to out. As noted above, White's status in particular is worth keeping an eye on: If he is declared out, the Patriots would enter their game against New York with just two healthy running backs in Dion Lewis and Brandon Bolden.
Patriots: QB Tom Brady (ankle/left shoulder), TE Rob Gronkowski (illness)
Jets: LB David Bass (ankle, full participation), WR JoJo Nelson (shoulder, full participation), OL Wesley Johnson (hip, full participation), OL James Carpenter (knee, full participation), DL Leonard Williams (back, full participation), WR Robby Anderson (illness, full participation), LB Jordan Jenkins (ankle/shoulder, full participation), WR Jermaine Kearse (ankle, full participation), CB Mo Claiborne (foot, full participation)
One day after quarterback Tom Brady returned to practice, tight end Rob Gronkowski was back on the practice fields as well. The NFL's best tight end sat out yesterday's session because of an illness but barring any setbacks is on his way to play on Sunday against the Jets – and just like his quarterback was removed from the injury report.