New England was back in full pads to start Falcons Week preps, but two players were missing from action at the start.
Wide receiver/co-captain Matthew Slater (wrist) continues to be out of commission since injuring himself against the Jets in Week 2. Meanwhile, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (foot), who was seen leaving Gillette Stadium after the Buccaneers game in a medical boot, missed his first session of 2013. He suffered the injury at the end of the first half this past Sunday and sat out the entire second half on the Patriots bench.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Danny Amendola (right groin) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (back/left forearm) continue to work their way back into playing shape. Amendola looked a little quicker running through footwork drills than he did a week ago, but still shows a noticeable hitch in his step. And Gronkowski has "definitely made progress" since he started practicing at the beginning of the regular season, according to head coach Bill Belichick.
Media interviews with players are scheduled again for around midday, after practice.
UPDATE… 3:24 p.m.
Both Amendola and Gronkowski spoke to reporters following practice.
The former was surprisingly candid in his own prognosis.
"I anticipate being 100 percent shortly," Amendola declared. "I don't know when, but I'm getting closer. There's a light [at the end of the tunnel]. I can see it."
When asked about where he is relative to his normal strength, Gronk acknowledged that he had to stop lifting weights and working out for a couple of months during the offseason, but that he's now "improving every week" to get back at full strength.
"There really is no update. You know how we go," he stated, tacitly referring to the team's preference not to discuss injuries.
Some observers have noted that the tight end seems noticeably slimmed down as a result of his extended rehabilitation this year.
"I don't lose weight. I can look skinny and still be the same amount of weight," he insisted, then joked, "It goes by skinny or looking jacked."
Pressed to choose which one he thinks he looks like now, Gronk retorted, "You guys tell me."
UPDATE… 4:18 p.m.
Amendola and Gronk were both limited again in practice, and several other players were added to the injury report, including the aforementioned Vollmer. Linebacker/co-captain Jerod Mayo (ankle), cornerback Kyle Arrington (groin), and corner Marquice Cole (hamstring) were limited as well. D-tackle/co-captain Vince Wilfork (foot) was a full participant.