FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England will be without one of its defensive leaders against Pittsburgh tonight, which could impact what the team had planned on that side of the ball.
LB Kyle Van Noy was not listed at all on this week’s injury report. However, he’d been on alert all this past week, as his wife was ready to deliver their first child. It’s conceivable that he’s been deactivated because the baby had arrived today.
In any event, the Patriots will be without the player who was arguably their most productive play-maker during last season’s playoffs. His versatility at the linebacker position will be difficult to duplicate, so, it will be interesting to see how New England adjusts to his absence.
Meanwhile, WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring), who enjoyed a productive Patriots debut against the Giants in the preseason finale, was a surprise inclusion on the injury report this week with this particular injury. He’d previously missed time during the offseason while recovering from an Achilles heel problem. It’s not surprising, therefore, that New England is being cautious with him and holding him out of this contest.
Safety Obi Melifonwu (ankle), like Thomas, was limited all week in practice and will sit this game out as well.
Earlier in the day, TE Matt LaCosse (ankle) was reportedly on the verge of being downgraded from Questionable, but will suit up tonight versus Pittsburgh. With just two tight ends on the roster (second-year player Ryan Izzo being the other), LaCosse could see some action, but if those reports were accurate, his availability might be limited.
The remainder of New England’s inactive players were not listed on the injury report and therefore technically healthy scratches from the lineup: OL Korey Cunningham, rookie CB Joejuan Williams, rookie RB Damien Harris, and rookie DL Byron Cowart.
On the Steelers’ sideline, starting free safety Sean Davis was Pittsburgh’s only listing (as Doubtful) on Friday, so, it’s little surprise that he won’t be available tonight.