Some 36 hours after defeating the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots returned to the practice field Wednesday for a walkthrough on their first day of preparations for the Denver Broncos.
A notable attendee was wide receiver Danny Amendola, who injured his left knee late in the third quarter against Buffalo and did not finish the game. Amendola remained on the sideline, however, and according to media reports, his medical problem is not expected to cost him any significant playing time. His presence at today's session would seem to validate that assertion.
Meanwhile, another receiver injured against the Bills was not able to take part in the walkthrough. According to the Boston Herald, Aaron Dobson is dealing with a high ankle sprain and it's unclear how long he'll be out of commission.
There was also no sign of LB Jamie Collins, who continues to be hampered by an unspecified illness. According to ESPN, however, Collins was finally healthy enough to return to Gillette Stadium today, and the player himself confirmed that with a social media posting a short time later.
WR Julian Edelman (left foot), special teams co-captain Matthew Slater, who appeared to get banged up in the Buffalo game, and rookie corner Justin Coleman (right hand) were also not on the field.
In addition, we did not see LB Dane Fletcher or defensive lineman Chris Jones, both of whom had been on PUP all season and practicing for the past three weeks. Both players, according to the NFL transaction wire, have been placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Now they're the Denver Brock-os
What would have been the 17th installment of the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning rivalry looks like it's going to be the first ever Brady encounter with Brock Osweiler, Manning's backup. Osweiler has taken over the helm of the Denver offense while Manning deals with a couple of injuries.
However, there's precious little game tape of Osweiler for the Patriots to study.
"You can tell he has a good grasp of what they want to do offensively," safety/co-captain Devin McCourty observed. "You definitely can see that. It just looks like he has complete control of the offense. You see him check out of some plays that probably have bad looks. So, you can tell he's a smart quarterback. It definitely helped playing under Peyton… He's a little more mobile and can prolong some plays."
"I think they're still going to do what they've been doing, with or without Peyton," cornerback Malcolm Butler maintained. "Of course, they have pretty good receivers over there… We're preparing to play the best way we can no matter who's the quarterback."
Like any other office around the U.S. this Wednesday, the Patriots were hoping to get out as quickly as possible to enjoy some time with family and friends on Thanksgiving tomorrow.
For tight end Rob Gronkowski, there's a simple answer to the question of what his favorite meal item is at the holiday dinner table.
"Stuffing," he declared. "That always goes good with the turkey. When someone makes a dry turkey, you always need a cup of extra gravy or something on top of that. Stuffing always goes good. You put stuffing on top of whatever you're about to eat and it makes it delicious."
And as a professional athlete, how difficult is it to exercise portion control when dessert is served?
"There's mental toughness right there, baby," Gronkowski grinned. "Knowing that you've got the huge pie in front of you and just only eating a little piece even though you want to eat the whole pie. Definitely know what your limit is because I know anyone in this locker room could put down like six pounds of food right there and come in the next day a little sluggish. You've got to focus on that and not do that. We're not going to eat six pounds of turkey. I mean, I'm not going to even though I want to.
"If it was the offseason," he admitted, "I'd eat that whole pie."