Rookie left tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who sustained a head injury in last week’s game, is not active for tonight’s contest against the Saints. Veteran Matt Light is likely to return to the starting spot at left tackle as he is active for the first time since injuring his right knee Oct. 11.
With rookie receiver Julian Edelman the third quarterback, if he plays before the fourth quarter that would mean that Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer – the top two quarterbacks – are ineligible to play. So it will be a limited role for Edelman (forearm injury) tonight.
Meanwhile, running back Sammy Morris is active for the first time since injuring his knee Oct. 18 and defensive lineman Jarvis Green is active for the first time since undergoing knee surgery during the bye week. That should help the Patriots in the run game -- offensively and defensively.
A couple of more points of analysis from the Patriots’ inactive players:
1) Linebacker Junior Seau, whose pre-game speeches have motivated players in recent weeks, is inactive for the first time since signing with the team. That thrusts Eric Alexander one notch up the depth chart behind Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton at inside linebacker.
2) With defensive backs Kyle Arrington and Shawn Springs inactive, the Patriots have Jonathan Wilhite, Leigh Bodden, Darius Butler and Terrence Wheatley as their top corners. Wheatley gets the nod over Springs because of his special teams contributions (e.g. kickoff returns).
As mentioned in an earlier post, the Saints are without starting cornerbacks Jabari Greer (groin) and Tracy Porter (knee), which is a major development against the Patriots' 1-2 combination of Randy Moss and Wes Welker.
The Patriots figured to spread the field and test the Saints' depth at corner regardless, but this could lead them even more so in that direction.