FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots will be very short-handed on defense Monday night against the Chiefs, as three starters are inactive.
Cornerback Devin McCourty (shoulder), safety Patrick Chung (foot) and Brandon Spikes (knee) won't play, and backup linebackers Dane Fletcher (thumb) and Jeff Tarpinian (illness) have also been ruled out. Running back Kevin Faulk (knee) and quarterback Ryan Mallett round out the inactive list.
Offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, who was promoted to the active roster last week, will be active for the first time in his NFL career. Additionally, the Patriots released offensive lineman Donald Thomas prior to the game, so they believe Cannon is ready to contribute if called upon.
Wide receiver Taylor Price and running back Shane Vereen are back in the lineup after being inactive last week.
Without McCourty, the Patriots will lean more heavily on starting cornerback Kyle Arrington, while backups Antwaun Molden and Phillip Adams will need to fill in on the other side.
The Patriots promoted safety Ross Ventrone (his 22nd career roster transaction) prior to the game. James Ihedigbo figures to start at one safety position, while Sterling Moore, Sergio Brown or Ventrone could be the other starter.
Without Spikes, Fletcher and Tarpinian, the Patriots will lean on Tracy White and Gary Guyton to step up alongside Jerod Mayo at linebacker.
Faulk has yet to play in consecutive games since returning from a knee injury, so the Patriots could simply be trying to bring him along more slowly than originally expected.