The Patriots took the field for Day 2 of joint practices with the Eagles in Philadelphia on Wednesday, and there was one new addition among those missing in action.
Just as they were on Tuesday, defensive backs Ras-I Dowling and Nate Ebner, wide receivers Michael Jenkins and Mark Harrison, offensive linemen Marcus Cannon, Dan Connolly, Tyronne Green, Kevin Haslam and Markus Zusevics, defensive lineman Jermaine Cunningham as well as Rob Gronkowski (PUP) and Armond Armstead (non-football illness) were all absent at practice. Undrafted rookie tight end Brandon Ford also joined that group on Wednesday, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.
The Patriots are already a bit thin at the tight end position, with Gronkowski still recovering from offseason back surgery. Now, with Ford on the shelf, at least for the day, the Patriots are left with just four active tight ends on their roster in Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui, Daniel Fells and undrafted rookie Zach Sudfeld. The foursome can definitely handle the load at tight end in Ford’s absence, and that group might also be what the Patriots go with in Week 1 of the regular season.
The Patriots can at least take some solace in the positive reports about Gronkowski’s recovery that came out on Tuesday, hinting that he could come off the PUP list before the start of the regular season.