Patriots Practice Notes: Linebacker Absent; Key DB Limited

Plus: The return of a weekly award

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September 21

FOXBORO, Mass. — Some assorted notes and nuggets from the New England Patriots’ first Week 3 practice on Wednesday outside Gillette Stadium:

— Linebacker Raekwon McMillan was not spotted during the open media portion of practice. He started against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 but lost that spot to Mack Wilson in Week 2 after being listed as limited with a thumb injury. McMillan played just 12 defensive snaps in Sunday’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, down from 40 against Miami.

— The only other member of the 53-man roster missing from practice was offensive tackle Justin Herron, who reportedly was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders. The Herron trade freed up a roster spot for defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale, who returned to practice Wednesday after serving a two-game suspension.

— Safety Kyle Dugger was present at practice but appeared limited during the brief portion reporters were permitted to watch. Dugger suffered a knee injury during the Steelers game and did not play after halftime. He was a pivotal part of New England’s plan to defend Lamar Jackson in 2020, so his status bears monitoring ahead of this Sunday’s home opener against the Baltimore Ravens.

— Three practice squad players were not participating during the early portion of practice: defensive lineman LaBryan Ray, linebacker Cameron McGrone and offensive lineman Bill Murray. There was one new addition to the P-squad: an initially unidentified kicker wearing No. 17. He took the spot previously filled by cornerback Terrance Mitchell, who reportedly signed with the Tennessee Titans.

The kicker later was revealed to be Tristan Vizcaino, who was with the Patriots in training camp.

— The Patriots appear to have revived their “practice players of the week” honor.

Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, defensive lineman Sam Roberts, tight end Matt Sokol and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell all practiced in black jerseys Wednesday, which used to signify the team’s top practice performers each week before the Patriots mothballed that recognition system in 2019.

Roberts is on the 53-man roster but has yet to dress for a game this season. The other three are practice squadders, though Cannon now will take on a more prominent role with Herron gone. He’s now the Patriots’ No. 4 tackle behind starters Isaiah Wynn and Trent Brown and top reserve Yodny Cajuste.

After Sunday’s game, slot cornerback Myles Bryant praised Treadwell, a first-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2016, for the job he did simulating Pittsburgh wideout Chase Claypool last week.

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