UPDATE (11:30 a.m. ET): Offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch is the final player on the inactive list for the New England Patriots.
The Patriots will head into Sunday’s game with center James Ferentz and guard Jermaine Eluemunor as their backup offensive linemen behind Marshall Newhouse, Joe Thuney, Ted Karras, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon. Thuney likely is the Patriots’ backup offensive tackle despite being their starting left guard.
Cody Kessler was just signed this week. Joejuan Williams, a 2019 second-round pick, was active for the first time last week after being a healthy scratch in New England’s first two games. Damien Harris and Byron Cowart also are rookies buried on the depth chart. Korey Cunningham was acquired via trade right before the season, while Benenoch was signed early in the season.
Having Julian Edelman and Rex Burkhead available is a big boost for the Patriots’ offense. Edelman missed the second half of the Patriots’ Week 3 win over the New York Jets.
ORIGINAL STORY: ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower was one of four players who went through pregame warmups as apparent game-time decisions prior to New England’s Week 4 matchup with the Buffalo Bills.
It appears Hightower, who was questionable with a shoulder injury, didn’t pass his pregame test. Hightower is doing pregame sprints with a group of players who appear like they’ll be inactive in Week 4.
Rookie running back Damien Harris, rookie cornerback Joejuan Williams, quarterback Cody Kessler, defensive tackle Byron Cowart and offensive tackle Korey Cunningham are working out with Hightower.
Hightower plays inside and outside linebacker. His role likely will be filled by a combination of players, including Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Elandon Roberts, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Shilique Calhoun, John Simon and Chase Winovich. Defensive ends Michael Bennett and Deatrich Wise also could take on bigger roles with Hightower out.
Bennett (shoulder), wide receivers Julian Edelman (chest) and Gunner Olszewski (hamstring), running back Rex Burkhead (foot), safety Nate Ebner (groin), offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse (illness) and tight end Matt LaCosse (ankle) also were questionable heading into Sunday’s game. They all made the trip to Buffalo. Olszewski is good to go after a pregame warmup. Nate Ebner and Matt LaCosse also went through pregame warmups.