It’s official. Danny Amendola is returning to the Patriots’ lineup on Sunday.
Amendola, who has missed the last three games with a groin injury, is active and will suit up for the Patriots on Sunday in Cincinnati. Rookie receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, who were limited in practice this week, are also active against the Bengals.
Newly signed wide receiver Austin Collie will not make his Patriots debut this weekend, though, as he joins Rob Gronkowski and running back Stevan Ridley among the team’s inactives.
Amendola likely won’t see too many reps on the afternoon, but his return should take some pressure off Julian Edelman, who has seen more than one-third of Tom Brady‘s targets and leads the NFL in receptions this season. It should also open things up for Thompkins and Dobson a bit more on the outside, as even a limited Amendola will command extra attention from the Bengals’ defense.
The absence of All-Pro cornerback Leon Hall should also help Brady and the passing game in Cincinnati. Hall is the Bengals’ best cornerback and would likely have been relied upon to keep Amendola and Edelman in check. With the corners now moving up a spot on the depth chart, look for Thompkins and Dobson to see some extra work against some of the lesser-known Bengals corners.
Check out the inactives for both the Patriots and Bengals below.
WR Matthew Slater
RB Stevan Ridley
WR Austin Collie
TE Rob Gronkowski
OG Chris Barker
LB Steve Beauharnais
S Tavon Wilson
OL Mike Pollack
OL Tanner Hawkinson
RB Rex Burkhead
DE Michael Johnson
WR Ryan Whalen
CB Leon Hall
CB Brandon Ghee
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