The New England Patriots have ruled out two players for Sunday’s matchup with the Houston Texans.
Defensive tackle Adam Butler and running back J.J. Taylor both did not make the trip to Houston, the team announced Saturday.
Butler had been listed as questionable with a shoulder injury. Taylor, an undrafted rookie who has not played since Week 3, did not appear on the injury report this week.
This will be the first game Butler has missed in his NFL career. The fourth-year pro has been on the field for 39.5 percent of New England’s defensive snaps this season, tallying 13 tackles and one quarterback hit while playing through shoulder and elbow injuries. He has yet to record a sack after registering a career-high six in 2019.
With Butler out, defensive tackle Isaiah Mack could make his Patriots debut Sunday. Claimed off waivers from the Tennessee Titans earlier this month, Mack was a healthy scratch for last week’s win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Taylor’s deactivation comes as no surprise, as the Patriots reportedly are activating running back Sony Michel off injured reserve, bolstering an already-deep backfield. Michel missed the last six games with a quad injury.
Butler was one of 15 Patriots players listed as questionable entering the weekend. The other 14 — a list that includes cornerback Stephon Gilmore, linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, wide receiver N’Keal Harry, running back Damien Harris, tight end Ryan Izzo and three starting offensive linemen — all traveled with the team Saturday.