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Patriots vs. Raiders inactives: Malik Cunningham will be Mac Jones’ backup in Week 6

One day after signing him to their 53-man roster, the Patriots are installing Cunningham as their QB2.

NFL: AUG 10 Preseason - Texans at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots will be shorthanded in Week 6 against the Las Vegas Raiders, missing several key contributors due to injury. Those absences might not be the biggest story coming out of the inactives list, though.

Let’s take a look at who will miss the contest for the Patriots, and what it means.

Patriots inactives

  • WR Kayshon Boutte
  • WR Demario Douglas
  • QB Will Grier
  • OT Riley Reiff
  • G Cole Strange
  • WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
  • QB Bailey Zappe (emergency QB)

The Patriots will have only two quarterbacks on their game-day roster against the Raiders: starter Mac Jones, who is coming off arguably the worst two games of his career and will be on a short leash, as well as Malik Cunningham.

The undrafted rookie Cunningham, of course, was just signed to the active roster on Saturday — he has now been installed as QB2, although it remains to be seen how the club will use him during the game. There is a chance he will take the field a gadget player, or at the wide receiver position he was primarily used in since his arrival earlier this offseason. That multi-faceted usage, of course, would not have been permitted had he been made inactive and declared as the third emergency quarterback.

With Cunningham on the game day roster, both Bailey Zappe and Will Grier have been deactivated. Zappe is now the emergency QB, meaning he will only be allowed to enter the game in case both Jones and Cunningham become unavailable.

As for the other inactives, there are no surprises. JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion), Demario Douglas (concussion), Cole Strange (knee) and Riley Reiff (knee) were all ruled out entering the weekend.

On the positive side, the nine questionables on the 53-man roster are all good to go. That group includes wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, who will make his season debut against the Raiders.

In addition, offensive linemen Trent Brown (chest) and Michael Onwenu (ankle), defensive tackles Davon Godchaux (ankle) and Christian Barmore (knee), edge Josh Uche (knee) and defensive backs Jonathan Jones (ankle), Shaun Wade (shoulder) and Kyle Dugger (foot) have also been green-lighted.

Raiders inactives

  • LB Amari Burney
  • OT Justin Herron
  • CB Nate Hobbs
  • QB Aidan O’Connell (emergency QB)
  • DT Nesta Jade Silvera
  • S Christopher Smith
  • WR Kristian Wilkerson

Justin Herron (concussion) and Nate Hobbs (ankle) were both ruled out on Friday, while the team’s only questionable player — cornerback Jakorian Bennett (shoulder) — is good to go.