FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Veteran offensive tackle/guard Will Svitek was absent for the start of Friday's practice, as he's missed the entire week with a right knee injury. Svitek, who projects to a backup role at both tackle spots and right guard, is expected to miss Sunday's season opener against the Bills.
Every other player, including tight end Rob Gronkowski, was present for the start of Friday's workout held in shells (light shoulder pads) and helmets. Media members were present for warmup jogging and stretching.
Svitek's absence shines a spotlight on the Patriots' offensive line depth.
The starting line returns intact from 2012 with left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Logan Mankins, center Ryan Wendell, right guard Dan Connolly and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer. The top backup is tackle/guard Marcus Cannon.
Svitek projected to the No. 7 spot on the depth chart, and the Patriots generally like to go into games with seven active linemen.
That spot now could be filled by undrafted rookie Chris Barker, a center/guard who was claimed on waivers from the Dolphins, unless the team promotes one of their three offensive linemen from the practice squad (guard Josh Kline, tackle Jordan Devey, or tackle R.J. Dill).
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