Projecting inactives for Patriots

For the second consecutive week, the Patriots enter a playoff contest with every player on the active roster expected to be healthy enough to play. That, of course, is the result of the team placing tight end Rob Gronkowski on injured reserve on Thursday, leaving one vacant roster spot as of this writing.

The Patriots will fill the roster spot later this afternoon, with a practice squad promotion as the most likely scenario to do so. We will hedge our bets with a guess that defensive lineman Marcus Forston earns the call-up, although that doesn't guarantee he'll be on the 46-man game day roster.

Here's a shot at projecting the Patriots inactives.

Defensive end Jake Bequette

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: We'll continue to point to next season as when Bequette is more likely to make his impact.

Offensive lineman Markus Zusevics

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: Ditto for Zusevics, who has yet to suit up since being activated to the 53-man roster on Thanksgiving.

Wide receiver Kamar Aiken

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: Aiken remains an insurance policy at the receiver spot.

Offensive lineman Nick McDonald

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: The Patriots have top reserve linemen in both Donald Thomas and Marcus Cannon.

Defensive back Derrick Martin

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: If Martin were to be active, it would likely be to beef up the team's kickoff coverage, which was woeful last Sunday. Nonetheless, we project he won't dress.

Defensive back Malcolm Williams

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: You could cut-and-paste what we said about Martin for Williams, who may get the call up for kicking game purposes.

Defensive tackle Marcus Forston (note: this is projecting that he is promoted today)

Reason: Depth

Quick-hit: The Patriots could probably use Forston for goal-line defense purposes, where they have been thin of late, but there may not be a player who they can afford to deactivate for his spot. This ensures he's part of the mix in 2013.