The Patriots had an encouraging practice on Wednesday, listing just three players who were unable to participate on the weekly practice report. As to be expected, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who did not play in Sunday's game versus Houston, sat out with an ankle injury. The only other injury-related absence came from wide receiver Aaron Dobson, who also missed Sunday's contest as he continues to nurse a foot injury. Linebacker Brandon Spikes seemingly had a personal issue to attend to, as he missed practice due to a non-injury related matter.
With the exception of Devin McCourty, every starter in New England's secondary was limited in some capacity: Aqib Talib (hip), Alfonzo Dennard (knee), Marquice Cole (shin), Kyle Arrington (groin), and safety Steve Gregory (thumb) all spent portions of the practice on the sidelines and were held out of full-contact drills.
New England's upcoming opponent, the Cleveland Browns, had fewer overall players either out or limited with injuries, but had a serious lack of depth at the quarterback position. With former backup quarterback and ex-Patriot Brian Hoyer on season-ending injured reserve with a torn knee ligament and number one and two quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell both out indefinitely with post-concussive symptoms, there is no clear-cut starter for Sunday's game.
According to ESPN, the Browns were forced to acquire free agent Caleb Hanie and sign Alex Tanney off of the Cowboys' practice squad as emergency options. Ideally, these two players would be a team's second-string option at best, but given the uncertainty at the position right now, it's not inconceivable that either or even both will see the field against New England in four days time.
New England also released veteran tight end D.J. Williams, just one week after the team signed him. After having logged just three offensive snaps in Sunday's game, and with Michael Hoomanawanui back at practice on Wednesday, Williams was a long-shot to remain on the roster for an extended period of time.
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