Wendell should ease loss of Connolly

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots first-year offensive lineman Ryan Wendell, signed back to the 53-man roster on Dec. 31, is active today and likely to aid in the loss of injured Dan Connolly (ankle).

Wendell appeared in the Patriots' first two games of the 2009 season, utilized in special teams roles against the Bills and Jets. He was released on Sept. 22, but signed back to the practice squad two days later.

Wendell could be utilized as the fullback in short-yardage situations, while also providing depth on the interior of the line.

The Patriots elevated Wendell back to the active roster late last month, while releasing defensive lineman Titus Adams.

Connolly headlined the list of today's inactives, but there were not any surprises among the bunch. What's more, the Patriots sacrifice no playoff experience none of the eight inactives have appeared in a postseason contest.

Most of the inactives appear to be depth decisions. Those that have played larger roles this season like running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis and offensive lineman Mark LeVoir were simply squeezed out by needs at other spots. The Patriots can lean on Sammy Morris and Wendell if needed at fullback role, while rookie Sebastian Vollmer provides depth at tackle.