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A closer look at Sunday’s inactives for the Patriots: No Stevan Ridley or Chad Ochocinco for AFC title game

01.22.12 at 1:52 pm ET
By

Stevan Ridley (AP)

FOXBORO — Sunday’s inactives for the Patriots are quarterback Ryan Mallett, running back Stevan Ridley, running back Shane Vereen, linebacker Gary Guyton, offensive lineman Donald Thomas, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer and wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

The most interesting person on the list is Ridley, as the rookie appears to be a healthy scratch. However, he fumbled the ball twice over the last two games, with one in the regular-season finale against the Bills and another in the divisional playoffs against the Broncos. (It’s the first scratch of the season for Ridley.) This will also likely mean more snaps across the board for the rest of the running backs, including Danny Woodhead and Kevin Faulk, and could also mean the Patriots plan on throwing the ball more against the Ravens.

One other notable scratch (although he’s had a minimal impact over the last six weeks) is Ochocinco, who flew back to Florida over the weekend to attend his father’s funeral. According to Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, Ochocinco did make it back in time for the game, but will not dress against the Ravens. Again, his absences won’t dramatically affect the offensive game plan, as he was on the field for just one snap in the divisional playoffs last week against Denver.

Vollmer was on the injury report this week with back and foot issues (as has been the case for much of the second half of the season), and hasn’t played much if at all lately because of it. (He hasn’t played since Nov. 27 against Philadelphia.) Look for Nate Solder to go wire-to-wire at right tackle (as he has done for much of the season with Vollmer on the shelf) in his absence. It’s worth mentioning that Solder spent time on the injury list this week because of a concussion.

Meanwhile, Mallett, Guyton, Vereen and Thomas are all healthy scratches who are simply personnel decisions. Not sure we’ve seen someone slide off the depth chart as dramatically as Guyton, who began the season as a starter at inside linebacker but hasn’t started Nov. 27 against Philadelphia, and has had a minimal impact over the last six weeks of the season.

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Danny Woodhead, Donald Thomas, Gary Guyton
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