Running back Damien Harris and return specialist Gunner Olszewski are back in uniform in Atlanta tonight after one-game absences. Both men were shelved this past Sunday for the Browns game because of concussions. In Harris' stead a few days ago, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson had a career day carrying the football, and both Harris and Stevenson will be active tonight.
Second-year man J.J. Taylor, though, will yield to Harris. Taylor is one of the five inactive Patriots for tonight's game. The Harris-Stevenson duo should give the Patriots a formidable 1-2 punch in the running game against a Falcons defense that surrenders an average of 122 yards on the ground per contest.
Olszewski, meantime, should help give a boost to New England kick and punt return games, which had little productivity in his absence Sunday. Also, with New England placing linebacker Josh Uche on injured reserve because of an ankle issue and recalling fellow edge rusher Chase Winovich off IR yesterday, rookie Ronnie Perkins' red-shirt year continues. Perkins has yet to be active for a game this season. Winovich will be active for the first time since Week 6.
Rookie cornerback Shaun Wade also gets a chance to make his Patriots debut tonight after being inactive the first 10 weeks. The three remaining deactivated players are all healthy scratches (not listed on the injury report): quarterback Jarrett Stidham, guard Yasir Durant, and tight end Devin Asiasi. The latter's inclusion among the inactive players means Jonnu Smith, who was held out Sunday because of a shoulder injury, is back on the field tonight.
For Atlanta, the one big name we've been following on this week's injury report is old friend Cordarrelle Patterson. The former Patriot – now the Falcons' leading rusher and second-leading receiver – has an ankle injury that will keep him on the sidelines for this game. That's one less key player the New England defense will have to focus on tonight.