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Can Dominique Easley, Casey Walker and Zach Moore give Vince Wilfork more of a breather? 10.25.14 at 3:10 pm ET
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Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

FOXBORO — Vince Wilfork can’t play every down anymore. Nor do the Patriots want him playing all the time anymore.

After playing 64 of 69 snaps in Buffalo against the Bills, Wilfork’s snaps fell to 78 percent (68 of 87 snaps) against the Jets. Still, Wilfork is certainly on pace to earn his 70 percent participation clause that will kick in his $3 million guarantee. He has already played 78.9 percent of his snaps this season. His 377 snaps is 162 more than Chris Jones, the next closest on the line.

But with injuries to Sealver Siliga and Chandler Jones and the departure of Tommy Kelly, there’s a need to make sure there’s insurance behind Wilfork.

This is what the Patriots had in mind when they drafted Dominique Easley and Zach Moore and signed Casey Walker off the Carolina Panthers practice squad in late September. It’s why they have brought in Alan Branch to see if they can resurrect his career after some off-the-field transgressions.

But most of the focus now is on Easley, a player like Wilfork who could make the transition from inside to outside on the defensive line.

“Easley has really played all those spots across the board from college and even back from when we had him here in the spring and then when he was able to practice in training camp,” coach Bill Belichick said Friday. “He’€™s worked all the way from outside the tight end to on the center’€™s nose, so everywhere in between: zero to two-I, three, four, five, six, seven, nine. He’€™s been at every spot.

“That is unusual. He’€™s got a unique set of skills that allow him to do that. [He'€™s] quick enough to play outside, enough playing strength to play inside, to a degree. Good instinctiveness in terms of recognizing blocking schemes. There are a lot of different things that can happen when you’€™re in there between a guard and a center or a guard and tackle compared to when you’€™re outside of a tight end. You’€™re seeing the game kind of from the inside out as opposed from the outside in. it’€™s different. I’€™d say there aren’€™t a lot of guys that comes real easy to. There are a few, but not a lot.”

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Read More: Casey Walker, Dominique Easley, New England Patriots, Vince Wilfork
Bryan Stork (head) joins Brandon Browner, Dominique Easley as missing at Patriots practice 10.10.14 at 12:18 pm ET
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Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

FOXBORO — Rookie starting center Bryan Stork was not spotted at practice Friday, one day after he showed up on the injury report with a head ailment.

Stork was officially listed as limited Thursday with a head injury and his absence Friday leads to the speculation that Stork was injured during Thursday’s full pads practice. Stork made his NFL debut in Week 2 against the Vikings and was a sub again in Week 3 against the Raiders.

Stork made his first NFL start at center in Week 4 in Kansas City and started again last Sunday against Cincinnati, providing a stabilizing force in the middle of the still-developing offensive line.

Also missing Friday’s sweats and shells practice were cornerback Brandon Browner (ankle), defensive tackle Dominique Easley (knee/shoulder), safety Nate Ebner (finger) and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger). Browner and Easley were missing their second straight practice while Ebner and Fleming missed the entire week for a second straight week.

The Patriots will have a walkthrough on Saturday before leaving for Western New York and Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the Bills.

Read More: Brandon Browner, Bryan Stork, Buffalo Bills, Dominique Easley
Brandon Browner (ankle), Dominique Easley (shoulder) DNP while Bryan Stork (head) limited 10.09.14 at 4:31 pm ET
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Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner

FOXBORO — An ankle issue kept Brandon Browner from participating in practice on Thursday as the Patriots continued their preparations for the Bills in Buffalo on Sunday. Browner was activated from the suspended list on Monday and added to the 53-man roster.

Also missing Thursday was defensive lineman Dominique Easley, who suffered a shoulder injury on Sunday. Rookie center Bryan Stork, who entered the starting lineup on Sept. 29 against the Chiefs, was another addition to the injury report on Thursday, as he was limited with a head ailment. It’s not apparent if he suffered the injury in practice or during the game on Sunday night against the Bengals, though he was not on the injury report on Wednesday.

The Patriots practiced in full pads on Thursday on the upper grass fields.

Defensive back Nate Ebner (finger) and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger) were the other two Patriots players to miss practice Thursday. Ebner and Fleming haven’t practiced since suffering their injuries against the Chiefs.

After leaving Sunday’s game with a rib injury, safety Devin McCourty was again limited. And after being inactive Sunday, Dont’a Hightower practiced, but also was limited.

Did not participate

DB Brandon Browner (ankle)
DL Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee)
DB Nate Ebner (finger)
OL Cameron Fleming (finger)

Limited Participation

C Bryan Stork (head)
LB Jamie Collins (thigh)
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee)
DE Chandler Jones (shoulder)
S Devin McCourty (rib)
WR Matthew Slater (shoulder)

Read More: Brandon Browner, Bryan Stork, Buffalo Bills, Dominique Easley
CB Brandon Browner among missing at start of Patriots practice at 12:21 pm ET
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Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner

Cornerback Brandon Browner, defensive tackle Dominique Easley (knee/shoulder), safety Nate Ebner (finger) and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger) were not present for the start of Patriots practice on Thursday, according to reports.

Browner, set to come off a four-game suspension, was absent for undisclosed reasons. The injury report is released at 4 p.m., which should shed some light on the situation. For what it’s worth, after practice on Wednesday, Browner was spotted with his teammates in the locker room, and did not appear to be hobbled in any fashion.

The Patriots continue preparing for this Sunday’s game against the Bills, set for Sunday at 1 in Buffalo.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Brandon Browner, Cameron Fleming, Dominique Easley, Nate Ebner
Cameron Fleming, Nate Ebner miss Wednesday’s practice; Dominique Easley, Devin McCourty limited 10.08.14 at 4:23 pm ET
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Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

FOXBORO — Defensive back Nate Ebner (finger) and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (finger) were the only two Patriots players to miss practice Wednesday — the pair didn’t practice at all last week before missing last Sunday’s game with the Bengals.

After leaving the game with injuries, both safety Devin McCourty (rib) and Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee) practiced, but were limited. And after being inactive Sunday Dont’a Hightower practiced, but also was limited.

The Patriots held a walk-through on the grass fields behind Gillette Stadium in preparation for Sunday’s matchup in Buffalo against the Bills.

Did not participate

DB Nate Ebner (finger)
OL Cameron Fleming (finger)

Limited Participation

LB Jamie Collins (thigh)
DL Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee)
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee)
DE Chandler Jones (shoulder)
S Devin McCourty (rib)
WR Matthew Slater (shoulder)

More more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Devin McCourty, Dominique Easley, Dont'a Hightower, Nate Ebner
Nate Ebner (finger), Cameron Fleming ruled out, Dominique Easley (knee) among 5 questionable 10.03.14 at 5:42 pm ET
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Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

FOXBORO — Defensive back and special teamer Nate Ebner and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming have been ruled out for Sunday night’s game against the Bengals.

But the real news of the day from the injury report came in the form of the addition of rookie defensive lineman Dominique Easley, who was limited and is questionable with a knee injury.

Four other Patriots were again limited Friday, led by linebackers Dont’a Hightower (knee) and Jamie Collins (thigh). Also limited Friday was defensive end Chandler Jones (shoulder) and defensive back Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder). Hightower, Collins, Jones and Dennard are all questionable.

As for the Bengals, star linebacker Vontaze Burfict returned to practice Friday for the first time this week, but is officially listed as one of three “doubtful” Bengals for Sunday.

Burfict suffered concussions in Cincinnati’s first two games and missed their win over Tennessee. A.J. Green was added to the Bengals injury report Friday with a toe ligament injury suffered in Week 2 against Atlanta. But Green is still listed as probable.

Did Not Participate
DB Nate Ebner (finger) OUT
OL Cameron Fleming (finger) OUT

Limited Participation
DL Dominique Easley (knee) QUESTIONABLE
LB Jamie Collins (thigh) QUESTIONABLE
CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee) QUESTIONABLE
DE Chandler Jones (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE

Full Participation
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) PROBABLE

Read More: Cameron Fleming, Cincinnati Bengals, Dominique Easley, Nate Ebner
Report: Patriots add Dominique Easley to NFI list, while Alfonzo Dennard and Aaron Dobson will start camp on PUP 07.21.14 at 5:27 pm ET
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With camp looming later this week, the Patriots reportedly made some procedural roster moves Monday designed to allow some of players who are injured or coming off offseason surgery more time to rehab before they get on the field.

According to Field Yates of ESPN, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, running back Roy Finch, linebacker Deontae Skinner and tackle Chris Martin have been placed on the non-football injury list.

Meanwhile, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard; wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Jeremy Gallon; defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and special teamer Matt Slater were placed on the physically unable to perform list. Most of the players in this grouping were either limited (working with a rehab group) or not present during the media portion of the spring workouts.

In both cases — the active/physically unable to perform list as well as the active/non-football injury list — they can come off the list and return to practice at any time after they have been cleared by the team’s medical staff.

One thing worth noting is that both lists do not include tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo, all of who suffered season-ending injuries last year.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Aaron Dobson, Alfonzo Dennard, Chris Martin, Deontae Skinner
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