The New England Patriots first practice of the week contains three notable absences, as ESPN Boston’s Field Yates reports that rookie wide receiver Aaron Dobson, standout middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, and right tackle Marcus Cannon are not practicing today. Meanwhile, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was able to return to practice, and he is fully expected to play in this week’s game against the Cleveland Browns and make his return from a knee sprain.
Dobson is dealing with a minor sprained foot that he suffered very early in the win over the Denver Broncos, and he was ruled out last week against the Houston Texans. With Kenbrell Thompkins injured, getting Dobson back on the field is much more important, even against a lesser team like the Browns (the Patriots certainly aren’t going to fall to the Browns as a trap game due to past history reasons). Expectations should definitely be tempered when it comes to the Marshall product’s stat line this week, since he will be going up against elite cornerback Joe Haden.
It’s bad news early on to hear that Dobson isn’t practicing, and there doesn’t appear to be a timetable for his return to the team. His foot sprain doesn’t seem to serious, but the Patriots are always cautious with injuries to younger players. Keep a close eye on his practice status this week, and I think tomorrow’s practice will dictate whether or not he plays this week.
Meanwhile, Spikes was downgraded to “questionable” a couple of weeks ago with a knee injury, but he still managed to play against the Broncos. I’m not worried about his status this week.