Notebook: Headed To The Bye

There aren't many roster changes to report during the bye week, but this is a good time for the Patriots to evaluate their existing personnel and see what moves to make for the second half.

There aren't many roster changes to report during the bye week, but this is a good time for the Patriots to evaluate their existing personnel and see what moves to make for the second half.

Clearly, they have to find a role for S James Sanders, whose playing time has diminished, and they need to decide where LB Adalius Thomas fits into the defense. Thomas has been a major disappointment, but the Patriots passed on trading him at the deadline and started him Sunday in London after benching him the previous week. Sanders, meanwhile, has lost out on opportunities to young upstart Brandon McGowan.

Watching game film and going through some of the tendencies will be a priority this week. Expect to see an increase in Junior Seau's role in the second half as the Patriots sort out their linebacker situation.

NOTES
--S Brandon Meriweather was named the AFC defensive player of the week for his efforts Sunday, which included two interceptions and a touchdown. He's beginning to come into his own in his third NFL season.
--WR Julian Edelman will get a chance to heal this week and could be back in the lineup within the next two games, though it's unclear whether he's made any significant progress.
--RB Fred Taylor might be back by the end of next month if all goes well, but the Patriots aren't counting on a speedy return, so they will have to utilize all of their depth at running back.
--RB Sammy Morris appears to have only suffered a temporary setback and most likely will be back before the middle of November, which is a big boost for a team suddenly needing healthy bodies at that position.
--NT Vince Wilfork had another big game Sunday and is making his case for a lucrative contract extension if the Patriots are willing to open their pocketbook. After trading Richard Seymour, it seems logical they'll keep Wilfork, but his performance lately only ups the asking price in the long run.

INJURY IMPACT: The sudden lack of depth at running back is a concern, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis can serve as a temporary fill-in after the bye week and Kevin Faulk remains the jack-of-all-trades in the backfield. What the Patriots would love more than anything else is to see a string of big games from Laurence Maroney, whose playing time always appears to be in jeopardy whenever he takes the field.

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