A source told ESPN.com earlier this week that Amendola was unlikely to play. He was listed as doubtful on Wednesday's injury report. Gronkowski, who is recovering from offseason surgeries on his forearm and back, is not expected back for at least another week.
With both Gronkowski and rookie Zach Sudfeld (hamstring) inactive, it leaves only Michael Hoomanawanui and recently re-signed Matthew Mulligan at tight end for the Patriots. Mulligan is almost like an extra offensive lineman in terms of being more of a pure blocker. Hoomanwanui played a career-high 80 snaps in the season-opener (including penalties) and delivered a key seal block on Shane Vereen's big run to set up the game-winning field goal.
Rookie receiver Aaron Dobson, the second-round pick who missed the season opener with a hamstring injury, is set to make his debut. The Patriots have Kenbrell Thompkins, Julian Edelman, Josh Boyce and Dobson atop their receiver depth chart Thursday night. Also, safeties Duron Harmon (hamstring) and Nate Ebner (ankle) were dressed after not playing in the opener.
With Vereen on injured reserve/designated to return and Brandon Bolden (knee) inactive, it leaves Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount and Leon Washington as the active running backs. While Washington would project most to a "passing back" role, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Ridley stay on the field on some third downs because of his standing as a capable pass-protector.