FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots will start two rookie tackles Saturday against the Dolphins, as left tackle Matt Light was surprisingly ruled inactive.
Light, who was not on the injury report this week, ran through a series of tests before the game to test his right ankle. He suffered the injury five weeks ago during the Patriots' victory against the Chiefs, leaving Gillette Stadium in a walking boot.
Safety Patrick Chung (foot), linebacker Brandon Spikes (knee), right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (foot, back), defensive lineman Ron Brace (not on injury report), running back Shane Vereen (hamstring) and quarterback Ryan Mallett (not on injury report) are also inactive.
With Light and Vollmer out, Nate Solder figures to start at left tackle, and Marcus Cannon will make his first career start at right tackle. The Patriots don't have any true tackles to back up either player.
Depending who starts at center, the Patriots will have Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald and Donald Thomas as backup linemen, but all are interior players.
This had to have been a surprising development for the Patriots. If they knew Light was at risk Saturday, they would have likely promoted tackle Matt Kopa off the practice squad. Instead, they promoted defensive end Alex Silvestro and defensive back Sterling Moore, both of whom are active Saturday.
This will be a huge test for Cannon and Solder, who will make his first career start on the left side, as they oppose outside linebacker Cameron Wake, who has 7.5 sacks this season, including one against the Patriots in the season opener. Wake has three career sacks against New England.
Chung and Spikes each won't play for the seventh consecutive game and the eighth time this season. Vollmer is out for the fourth straight week and the ninth time this season. Vereen is inactive for the fourth week in a row and the eighth game this season. Mallett is out for the 12th consecutive week and the 14th time this season. Brace, who forced a fumble last week in Denver, is inactive for the first time since being activated off the physically unable to perform list.
Wide receiver Deion Branch (groin) is back in the lineup after missing the victory against the Broncos.