Most of the news regarding today’s practice session for the New England Patriots centers on Tom Brady’s absence, but I think the most important news coming out of Foxboro today is a return made by one key Patriots player to practice. Aaron Dobson missed last week’s playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts with an aggravated foot sprain that he suffered in Week 17 against the Buffalo Bills, and he actually first sprained his foot against the Denver Broncos over a month ago. Dobson wasn’t able to practice at all in between the Bills and Colts games, and he was an easy “inactive” last week.
However, it looks like he will be a full-go this week against the Broncos, as the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reports that Dobson was able to return to the practice field today. Only Brady and long snapper Danny Aiken are absent, but Brady is almost certainly going to play and Aiken isn’t really important in the grand scheme of things.
Dobson’s return, on the other hand, is incredibly important, because he’s the Patriots best downfield threat due to his size and speed. They need him to be out there against a depleted Broncos secondary that will be without Chris Harris Jr. and may be without free safety Rahim Moore, who is a key part of their deep coverage. Dobson was expected to play this week, but now his status is basically a guarantee. Following Kenbrell Thompkins’s injury on Saturday, Dobson’s health is all the more important.