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Inactive analysis: Patriots head into matchup against Dolphins with three defensive ends

12.15.13 at 11:39 am ET

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The following Patriots were announced as inactive for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins: offensive lineman Chris Barker; linebacker Steve Beauharnais; wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins; defensive ends Jake Bequette and Michael Buchanan and tight end D.J. Williams.

Here’s what the moves mean today, and who will be affected.

Buchanan: Probably the biggest inactive of the day, the rookie defensive end out of Illinois started the year strong but has slipped as of late. One interesting thing — with Buchanan and Bequette out, the Patriots just have three defensive ends for Sunday’s game in Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones and Andre Carter. It could be a sign the Patriots might be going more 3-4 on the afternoon.

Barker: The rookie has been inactive for most of the season — he’s been active for just three games to this point in the season.

Williams: The tight end was a recent pickup, and as a result, it’s not a big surprise he’s inactive. Williams being downgraded was one of the factors in the Patriots deciding to go with four running backs on the afternoon — it will be interesting to see how the skill position players are deployed.

Dobson: The rookie receiver out of Marshall was downgraded on Saturday because of a foot injury that has slowed him the last few weeks.

Thompkins: Like Dobson, he was downgraded on Saturday. The rookie has been dealing with a hip problem. With Dobson and Thompkins out, expect plenty of work for the rest of the receivers, a group that includes Austin Collie, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Josh Boyce.

Beauharnais: Another healthy scratch for the rookie out of Rutgers, who has been down most of the season because of personnel decisions.

Bequette: The second-year defensive end out of Arkansas has been inactive for most of the season, as he’s dropped behind Andre Carter (as well as Buchanan) on the depth chart.

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