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In Focus: Taking a closer look at Patriots inactives

09.23.12 at 7:10 pm ET

BALTIMORE — The following Patriots players were deactivated for Sunday night’s game in Baltimore against the Ravens: defensive linemen Brandon Deaderick, Jake Bequette and Justin Francis; cornerback Alfonzo Dennard; tight end Aaron Hernandez; running back Shane Vereen and offensive lineman Nick McDonald.

Deaderick, Hernandez and Francis have all been dealing with ankle injuries over the last week, with Hernandez suffering his injury in last week’s loss to the Cardinals. Hernandez will reportedly be out up to a month — in his place, expect the Patriots to lean on tight ends Kellen Winslow and Daniel Fells, both of whom are active for the first time this season. In addition, Deion Branch will likely pick up some of the slack in the passing game.

In Deaderick’s absence, expect more playing time for Ron Brace, while rookie Marcus Forston could also see his first NFL action against the Ravens as well.

Vereen has been dogged by a foot injury since the preseason, while McDonald has been in and out of the lineup because of a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, Francis and Bequette have yet to appear in a game this season. Dennard has been slowed with a hamstring since the summer, and hasn’t appeared in a game yet. (Francis, Bequette and Dennard could essentially be taking redshirts season, getting used to life in the NFL as a rookie.)

Two names who are interesting because they are active are left guard Logan Mankins and wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. Both popped up on the injury report this week, Mankins with a hip and Lloyd with a thigh, and both got a serious look from the strength and conditioning staff in on-field workouts before Sunday’s game.



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