In not even 90 minutes, the New England Patriots will play their 11th game of this year’s regular season, trying to improve to 5-6: the reigning AFC East champions will square off against an Arizona Cardinals team that is heading into the contest with a 6-4 record. Before getting ahead of ourselves, however, let’s take a look at the players on both sides who have been declared inactive and will therefore not participate in today’s contest:
DE Tashawn Bower
DT Byron Cowart
WR Isaiah Ford
QB Brian Hoyer
RB J.J. Taylor
New England entered the weekend with two players already ruled out, but both of them have been placed on injured reserve since: left tackle Isaiah Wynn (knee) will miss at least three games, while running back Rex Burkhead (knee) is out for the rest of the season. This meant the Patriots had to start from scratch when it comes to naming their game-day inactives against Arizona.
Of the players who will not play versus the Cardinals, three found themselves on the final injury report of the week: Tashawn Bower (illness), Byron Cowart (back) and J.J. Taylor (quad) were all listed as questionable heading into today. While Bower was primarily a role player for most of the season so far and Taylor only an emergency option at running back, Cowart did see regular action over the first 10 games of the year.
With him out, the Patriots will turn to practice squad call-up Akeem Spence to help offer depth alongside the other interior defensive linemen on the roster — a group that also will get Adam Butler back after he missed last week’s game because of a shoulder injury.
Also active are the other questionables: wide receivers N’Keal Harry (shoulder) and Matthew Slater (knee), tight end Ryan Izzo (hamstring/hand), guard Shaq Mason (calf), linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (groin), defensive backs Stephon Gilmore (hand) and Kyle Dugger (toe), and kicker Nick Folk (back).
Meanwhile, the Patriots will get running back Sony Michel back from his stint on injured reserve. While the former first-round draft pick was already activated ahead of last week’s game agains the Houston Texans, he did not make the game-day squad. Now, however, he will return to offer depth alongside Damien Harris and James White in light of Burkhead’s knee injury.
RB Eno Benjamin
QB Brett Hundley
OL Joshua Miles
OL Justin Murray
S Jalen Thompson
Only one of the Cardinals’ absentees was already ruled out heading into the game: safety Jalen Thompson is dealing with an ankle injury. Also inactive, of course, is wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald even though he is not listed given his placement on the NFL’s Coronanvirus reserve list.