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Inactive analysis: Steve Gregory sits, but Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard good to go; Julius Thomas out for Broncos

11.24.13 at 7:16 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard is active and will play Sunday night against the Broncos after reportedly having a minor procedure on his knee. Also active for the Patriots is Aqib Talib, who is nursing a sore hip.

For the Broncos, the biggest news concerns tight end Julius Thomas, who is inactive with a knee injury. Thomas has become one of Peyton Manning’s biggest targets in the passing game, with 45 catches for 590 yards and a team-leading 10 touchdowns.

The Patriots officially announced their inactives for Sunday night: safety Steve Gregory, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, defensive end Jake Bequette, linebacker Steve Beauharnais, defensive lineman Marcus Forston, wide receiver Josh Boyce and offensive lineman Chris Barker. Here’s what the decisions mean for the Patriots from a game-plan and personnel standpoint:

Linebacker Steve Beauharnais: The rookie out of Rutgers has provided depth at linebacker and on special teams over the course of the season, but picks up another healthy scratch as the Patriots are looking to beef up the secondary and will likely play a ton of nickel and dime against pass-happy Denver.

Defensive end Jake Bequette: The second-year lineman out of Arkansas has been passed on the depth chart by Andre Carter and Michael Buchanan.

Offensive lineman Chris Barker: The rookie has essentially taken a redshirt year ‘€” it marks his seventh healthy scratch to this point in the season.

Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui: The dependable tight end suffered a knee injury in last week’€™s loss to the Panthers, and did not practice all week. Look for Matthew Mulligan to see an uptick in snaps as a result of Hoomananwanui’€™s absence.

Wide receiver Josh Boyce: The rookie receiver out of TCU was active for the first time in several weeks against the Panthers in a limited role, but the Patriots likely are looking for as many extra defensive backs as possible this evening.

Defensive tackle Marcus Forston: Like Bequette and Beauharnais, a need for more defensive backs against the high-powered Denver passing game necessitates Forston getting bumped in favor of someone like a Green, Marquice Cole, Tavon Wilson or Nate Ebner.

Safety Steve Gregory: The veteran, who was on the field over the course of the week in practice, suffered a thumb injury in the recent win over the Steelers. While he looked good and spoke optimistically about returning to face the Broncos, he’ll be on the shelf for another week. Expect Duron Harmon to see the bulk of the snaps in his place.

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