Patriots Injury Updates / Quick Hits

The Patriots have been incredibly resilient in their ability to play through injuries. There are two players listed as out this week - linebacker Ted Johnson and nose tackle Ted Washington - and 11 players listed as questionable. Three players - guard Joe Andruzzi and linebackers Matt Chatham and Roman Phifer - are new additions to the list.

If Andruzzi can't go Sunday, Russ Hochstein would step in at right guard or possibly even left guard with Damien Woody flipping to the right side. Chatham's status along with that of McGinest and Vrabel could force New England to play a 4-3 rather than flip between the 4-3 and 3-4 as it has done recently. Phifer's appearance on the injury list isn't comforting and could mean more playing time for either Larry Izzo or Don Davis.

Law's injury could have the biggest effect in the game. It didn't hurt them too badly in Miami last week, but against the Browns deep receiving corps, the Patriots secondary could get exposed for its lack of depth and also be forced into more zone coverages, something it hasn't done much of lately.

--LB Ted Johnson remains out with a broken foot.

--NT Ted Washington remains out with a broken leg.

--G Joe Andruzzi is questionable with a shoulder injury, but would have to be missing his arm to sit out Sunday vs. Cleveland.

--WR Deion Branch remains hobbled by an ankle injury, but is expected to play while listed as questionable.

--LB Matt Chatham suffered a leg injury in Miami, but returned to action in that game and should play Sunday despite being listed as questionable.

--S Je'Rod Cherry remains questionable with a leg injury that kept him out of Sunday's game in Miami. He is week-to-week.

--TE Daniel Graham continues to be plagued by shoulder problems, but he was able to play in Miami Sunday and is expected to do the same this week.

--CB Ty Law now sports a cast on his right foot and ankle and while listed as questionable, has to be considered a long shot to play after missing the Miami game last week.

--LB Willie McGinest has missed two of the last three games with a neck injury and remains questionable.

--WR David Patten played sparingly on Sunday as a knee injury continues to bother him. He is questionable for the Browns game.

--LB Roman Phifer is questionable with a leg injury apparently suffered in Miami. The injury was not reported during the game and Phifer finished the game. --RB Antowain Smith should be closer to returning from a shoulder injury that has kept him out the last two weeks. He remains on the injury report as questionable.

--LB Mike Vrabel played a few snaps last week after missing three games with a broken arm. He was used in pass rushing situations and could expand on that role somewhat this week.

--QB Tom Brady remains probable with elbow and shoulder problems, but as he has each week, he will start for the Patriots.

Quick Hits

  • The team made a minor move to fill a vacancy on the practice squad, signing linebacker Justin Kurpeikis, a third-year player out of Penn State, who spent his first two years in Pittsburgh where he had two tackles and three special teams tackles. He joined the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2001 and played in nine games in two years.
  • DL Ty Warren has climbed into favor after a slow start to the season. The rookie out of Texas A&M who was the 13th pick in the draft, will start his third straight game this week and is coming off his best day, recording seven tackles and a sack against the Dolphins. Belichick believes Warren has benefited from being forced into the lineup.

    "He's playing better the last few weeks," Belichick said. "His game experienced has helped him a lot. He's shown he's ready for playing time, but we also had some guys go out, which forced him in there more. But he's taken advantage of that."

  • RB Mike Cloud has come back to earth. Since gaining 73 yards on seven carries in his first game as a Patriot, he has carried 14 times for 31 yards. If Smith returns to the field this week, Cloud could find himself among the team's inactives, although that could be dictated by which of the 11 questionable players don't play.
  • WR David Givens could be a featured part of the game plan this week with both Branch and Patten hobbled. Givens has seen more time anyway and could get his first consistent chance to prove himself. He has eight receptions and two touchdowns so far this season.
  • CB Asante Samuel will likely get his second straight start at cornerback, which means that Chris Akins and Antwan Harris will vie for time as the nickel back with the other playing in dime situations. Akins is likely to see the most time as the nickel back with rookie safety Eugene Wilson playing his more natural cornerback spot in those sub packages.
  • Patriots LB Tedy Bruschi is the Patriots leading tackler with 58 and will have another busy day trying to corral Browns RB William Green. Green averages 3.9 yards per carry and is similar in style to Ricky Williams in that he can bounce plays outside and beat a defense on the edges or he can run with power and break arm tackles up the middle.

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