Patriots Inactives Reaction: Linebacker Surprise Scratch Vs. Miami

Five Patriots will make their NFL debuts Sunday


Sep 11, 2022

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Anfernee Jennings looked like he might enter his third Patriots season as a defensive starter. Instead, he’s a healthy scratch.

The 25-year-old linebacker was a surprise inactive for New England’s Week 1 matchup with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Jennings often aligned opposite Pro Bowl edge rusher Matthew Judon during training camp and the preseason, projecting as an early-down contributor in the Patriots’ new-look front seven. His removal from the 46-man gameday roster could lead to a larger role for fellow 2020 draftee Josh Uche, who’s mostly been used as a situational pass rusher in his NFL career.

Notably absent from New England’s inactive list: running back Ty Montgomery. Montgomery, who was carted to the locker room during the Patriots’ preseason finale against the Las Vegas Raiders, will suit up Sunday after returning to practice earlier this week. He had been listed as questionable with a knee injury.

It’s unclear whether Montgomery, who was not spotted during early pregame warmups, will be limited in any way. The running back/receiver hybrid projects as a possible replacement for retired third-down back James White, with Rhamondre Stevenson also expected to contribute in that area. Damien Harris, Stevenson and Montgomery will be the Patriots’ running backs against Miami, with fourth-round rookie Pierre Strong sitting out as a healthy scratch.

Rounding out New England’s inactives were safety Joshuah Bledsoe, cornerback Shaun Wade, offensive lineman Chasen Hines, defensive lineman Sam Roberts and quarterback Bailey Zappe. Bledsoe was listed as questionable with a groin injury; the rest were healthy inactives.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.

Some additional notes:

— Starting right tackle Isaiah Wynn (back) and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (knee) both were active after being listed as questionable. Meyers, the Patriots’ No. 1 wideout, wore a large brace on his left knee during warmups.

Wynn, who battled injuries for much of training camp, said Friday he expected to play against the Dolphins.

— The Patriots elevated wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey and linebacker Harvey Langi from the practice squad Saturday. The former will provide depth at wideout and an emergency option at tight end, as Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry are the only active players there. Both Humphrey and Langi also likely will play on special teams.

— Patriots rookies making their NFL debuts Sunday: Strange, cornerbacks Marcus Jones and Jack Jones, defensive lineman DaMarcus Mitchell and special teamer Brenden Schooler. Mitchell and Schooler, who are expected to have large roles in the kicking game, are undrafted free agents.

— Among the Dolphins’ inactives are ex-Patriots Eric Rowe and Trey Flowers.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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