Alfonzo Dennard out vs. Panthers

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots will be without two starters in their secondary for Monday night's game against the Carolina Panthers, as cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and safety Steve Gregory were ruled out Saturday.

Dennard was limited in practice with a knee injury throughout the week, and when he didn't practice at all on Saturday, it was the first indication that the injury would have a major impact on his availability.

A second-year player, Dennard has played in all nine of New England's games this season (8 starts) and has been credited with seven passes defended and one interception.

Gregory's absence was expected after a source told ESPN earlier this month that he broke his right thumb in a 55-31 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 3 and was expected to miss a few weeks.

Furthermore, top cornerback Aqib Talib (hip) and No. 3 cornerback Kyle Arrington (groin) are listed as questionable, although signs are pointing to them being available for action this week.

Arrington, if healthy, would project to Dennard's starting role in the base defense, with rookie Logan Ryan most likely the nickelback.

Rookie Duron Harmon is the projected starter at safety in place of Gregory.