Only one player on New England's active roster and practice squad wasn't on the field for today's practice: co-captain Matthew Slater, who's dealing with a wrist issue.
Aside from that, the other 60 players are on the field, albeit to varying degrees of participation. Even at that, there is reason for optimism. Rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld (hamstring) was a full participant in yesterday's and today's practices – an improvement over "limited" last week.
And, of course, fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski (back/left forearm) and wideout Danny Amendola (right groin) continue to suit up and take part, although both are still only on a limited basis.
Furthermore, rookie receiver Aaron Dobson (hamstring), ball carrier Stevan Ridley (shoulder), cornerbacks Alfonzo Dennard (ankle) and Marquice Cole (hamstring), and rookie safety Duron Harmon (hamstring) were all removed from the injury report this week. The only addition was starting right guard Dan Connolly (finger).
It remains to be seen, however, if Gronk and Amendola – two significant starters on offense – will be available this Sunday at 1 o'clock for kickoff with the Bucs.
Meanwhile, in the locker room after practice, running back LeGarrette Blount, formerly of Tampa Bay, was asked if he feels any added incentive this week to prove his old team wrong for trading him this offseason to New England.
"Not at all," he insisted. "I'm coming into work, doing everything that I have to do, supposed to do, and go out there and play a game, just like I didn't know nobody on that squad. I'm a Patriots player now, I don't play for the Bucs no more. I don't look at them as a former team, I look at them as somebody I've got to play against, just like everybody else."
The most important thing he knows about the Bucs these days, he claims, is their deceptive 0-2 record.
"They're a dangerous opponent, they're a couple plays from being 2-0… It's just going to be us coming out there and executing our game plan."