With roster cutdown weekend in the rear-view mirror, the New England Patriots can begin fully focusing on their upcoming opponent: the Miami Dolphins and a healthy contingent of ex-Patriots will come to town on Sunday in a highly anticipated Week 1 matchup between two division rivals. It also seems that they will face a relatively healthy Patriots squad, at least if judged by the attendance during Monday’s practice.
According to media reports from Foxborough, 51 members of the Patriots’ current 53-man roster were present for the first session of opening week. The only players not spotted were running back Damien Harris and defensive tackle Beau Allen.
Neither absence is a surprise. Harris underwent surgery on a broken pinkie recently and has now missed a full week worth of practice. Allen, meanwhile, has been a no-show ever since the Patriots held their first full-team practice of the summer on August 12. At this point in time, both players appear to be realistic candidates to be moved to injured reserve with the intention of being reactivated missing at least the league-mandated three weeks.
There were some positive news as well, though, as wide receiver Gunner Olszewski was back on the practice field after having missed the last three practice sessions. The former undrafted free agent was one of the most impressive players of this year’s training camp, showing some solid development heading into his sophomore campaign. His return means that the Patriots’ young wide receiver corps had all hands on deck.
The Patriots’ first injury report of the week, and season, will be released on Wednesday and create a clearer picture of the team’s overall health situation.
New England will kick off its regular season on Sunday at 1 pm at Gillette Stadium. Fans will not be allowed in the stands to watch the team’s first game of the post-Tom Brady era.