New England Patriots fans can certainly rejoice at their team’s practice report today, because the Patriots are healthy as they head into this week’s battle against the Miami Dolphins. It’s a welcome change-of-pace for Pats fans, as the team dealt with crippling blows last season to the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Jerod Mayo, and Vince Wilfork, and they also had some tough injuries the year before. Health is the the biggest key for the Patriots this season, along with their pass rush and the play of their second-year wide receivers.
ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss reports that Rob Gronkowski participated on a limited basis today, and he’s essentially a lock for this week’s game. Bill Belichick tried to downplay Gronk’s comments about his Week 1 availability, but that’s typical Belichick stuff; I’m willing to bet he’ll list Gronk as questionable on the injury report. But even though Gronk will be eased into things and won’t get a full workload against the Dolphins, he’ll be out there.
Meanwhile, the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels tweets that “X” wide receiver Aaron Dobson and rookie defensive tackle Dominique Easley weren’t even listed on the injury report, and that’s great news indeed. Both of them were locked in to play (Dobson moreso than Easley, who might end up being listed probable), but it’s still worth noting that Belichick avoided casting them into any sort of doubt. Dobson’s stress fracture was a lot more serious than once thought, but he’s healthy and ready to have a big impact in what will be a telling season for the former Marshall star; the “X” is the “X-Factor” in this offense.