Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer's status looks bleaker for Monday's season opener with each passing day.
Vollmer missed Saturday's practice and hasn't participated all week due to a back injury. Typically, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick won't carry a player onto the game-day roster if they haven't participated in any of that week's practices.
If that's the case, the Patriots will likely have to activate a tackle off the practice squad to back up Matt Light and Nate Solder, who would make his first career start in Vollmer's absence. Thomas Welch would be the likeliest candidate to get promoted from the practice squad. The Patriots would have to release a player from the active roster to make room for another tackle.
The team's other backup offensive linemen — Brian Waters and Ryan Wendell — would be less-than-ideal candidates to fill in at tackle in the event of an injury to Light or Solder.
Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth was also a surprising absentee from Saturday's practice. There's a good chance it was for maintenance reasons. Haynesworth hadn't missed a practice since Aug. 22.