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Setting the scene: Patriots-Buccaneers from Gillette 09.22.13 at 10:22 am ET
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FOXBORO — For the second straight week, rain could play a factor in a Patriots home game at Gillette Stadium.

Partly cloudy skies with breaks of sun and temperatures in the mid-60s are expected for the 1 p.m. kickoff between the Patriots and Buccaneers as New England looks to improve to 3-0 for the fourth time in the Bill Belichick era and the first time since 2007.

But there is a 30 percent chance of showers after halftime.

Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and Leon Washington were among the seven listed as inactive for the game.

Gronkowski was listed as questionable (50-50 to play) on the team’s final official injury report on Friday.
The only player ruled out on Friday was special teams captain Matthew Slater, out 4-6 weeks with a broken wrist.

This will be the first of two straight games against the NFC South for the Patriots as they visit Atlanta for a Sunday night football encounter next week. The Patriots and Buccaneers should be very familiar with each other by now, having had three joint practices in training camp in August and having played a preseason game on Aug. 16, won by the Patriots, 25-21.

Tom Brady is 34-9 all-time against the NFC as a starter, with three of those losses coming last season as the Patriots were beaten by the Cardinals, Seahawks and 49ers. Brady will try to extend to 51 games his streak of throwing at least one touchdown pass in a game. Drew Brees has the all-time record at 54 games.

Belichick this week was asked to recall the first game of his Patriots coaching career, a 21-16 loss to Tony Dungy and the Buccaneers at old Foxboro Stadium on Sept. 3, 2000. “Yeah, it wasn’€™t a great start,” Belichick said. “We had our chances there at the end. We had some shots inside the 10-yard line, 15-yard line, whatever it was down there. We just couldn’€™t get it in. So, yeah, not a great start.”

Read More: Danny Amendola, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots, nfl
Rob Gronkowski ‘questionable’ while Danny Amendola ‘doubtful’ for Sunday vs. Buccaneers 09.20.13 at 4:23 pm ET
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FOXBORO — For the first time this season, Rob Gronkowski is not doubtful to play in a game.

The Patriots tight end, who has been practicing with the team since being taken off PUP on Aug. 31, was again limited in practice on Friday but the team has officially listed him as questionable for Sunday against Tampa Bay on the official injury report. He has been limited all week and was considered to be a 50-50 proposition to play on Sunday earlier in the week.

Danny Amendola, who was also listed as limited in practice, is not as likely to play. He was categorized as “doubtful” with an ongoing groin injury.

Special teams captain Matthew Slater is the only player ruled out for Sunday with a wrist injury.

Here is Friday’s report:

Did Not Practice
ST Matthew Slater (wrist) OUT

Limited Participation
WR Danny Amendola (groin) DOUBTFUL
RB Brandon Bolden (knee) QUESTIONABLE
OL Dan Connolly (finger) QUESTIONABLE
DB Nate Ebner (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
TE Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm) QUESTIONABLE
OL Will Svitek (knee) QUESTIONABLE
RB Leon Washington (thigh) QUESTIONABLE

Full Participation
TE Zach Sudfeld (hamstring) PROBABLE

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

Read More: Danny Amendola, Gronk, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
Bill Belichick on Rob Gronkowski: ‘I think he’s getting better every day’ at 11:08 am ET
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FOXBORO — It was certainly far from a declaration of his readiness to play on Sunday but Bill Belichick did offer an update on Rob Gronkowski when asked Friday morning if the star tight end might make his 2013 debut against Tampa Bay.

“Rob’s been out there. I think he’s getting better every day,” Belichick said. “[He’s] working hard. No question about that.”

Gronkowski has been practicing with the Patriots every day the team has had practice since he was activated off PUP on Aug. 31. But he has been listed as “limited” on practice participation reports, including both this week, as he gets back into game condition after offseason back and forearm surgeries.

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that Gronkowski was 50-50 to play on Sunday but those expectations have reportedly dropped since. The Patriots may try to get by for another week without Gronkowski as they are playing a Tampa Bay team that has scored just 31 points in their first two games, both losses.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Gronk, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
Patriots practice Friday: Only Matthew Slater missing at 10:47 am ET
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FOXBORO — As the Patriots fine tuned their preparations for the Buccaneers this Sunday at Gillette Stadium, Matthew Slater was the only player not accounted for at shorts and shells practice Friday on the upper grass fields under sunny, ideal conditions.

Slater, the captain of special teams and the unit’s top gunner, is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a broken wrist suffered in the Week 2 win over the Jets.

Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola were both in attendance again for the media portion of practice outside Gillette Stadium. Like Thursday, the media was only able to observe stretching so there was no indication of how much either participated in offensive plays.

Gronkowski has practiced both before both games this season but has yet to be active for a game as he builds his conditioning back up from offseason forearm and back surgeries.

On Wednesday, Amendola appeared very limited in lateral movement as he suffered a groin injury in Week 1 and did not play in Week 2 against the Jets. The Boston Herald reports that the receiver has decided to forego surgery on a possible sports hernia for the time being and is hopeful to miss only a few week with the injury.

Read More: Danny Amendola, Gronk, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
Patriots practice Thursday: Marquice Cole returns, Matthew Slater only player missing 09.19.13 at 11:19 am ET
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FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola were both in attendance again for the media portion of Thursday’s practice on the grass fields outside Gillette Stadium. The media was only able to observe stretching Thursday so there was no indication of how much either participated in offensive plays.

Amendola was only spotted doing light running drills while Gronkowski appeared to be getting ready to take snaps with the first team offense before the media availability ended.

Matthew Slater was the only player missing from practice as Marquice Cole returned from an absence to be on hand for the birth of his child earlier in the week.

After Wednesday’s full pads practice, the Patriots practiced in shorts and shells on Thursday in preparation for their game with the Buccaneers this Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Gronkowski has practiced both before both games this season but has yet to be active for a game as he builds his conditioning back up from offseason forearm and back surgeries.

On Wednesday, Amendola appeared very limited in lateral movement as he suffered a groin injury in Week 1 and did not play in Week 2 against the Jets. The Boston Herald reports that the receiver has decided to forego surgery on a possible sports hernia for the time being and is hopeful to miss only a few week with the injury.

Read More: Danny Amendola, Gronk, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
Patriots practice Wednesday: Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola in full pads practice 09.18.13 at 10:49 am ET
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FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola were both in attendance for the media portion of Wednesday’s practice on the grass fields outside Gillette Stadium. Also on hand was Aqib Talib, who was missing on Monday.

Talib’s absence from Monday’s practice raised speculation about a possible injury from a hit by Jets center Nick Mangold on the sideline in the closing seconds last Thursday.

The Patriots practiced in full pads in preparation for their game with the Buccaneers this Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Gronkowski has practiced both before both games this season but has yet to be active for a game as he builds his conditioning back up from offseason forearm and back surgeries.

Amendola appeared very limited in lateral movement on Wednesday as he suffered a groin injury in Week 1 and did not play in Week 2 against the Jets. The Boston Herald reports that the receiver has decided to forego surgery on a possible sports hernia for the time being and is hopeful to miss only a few week with the injury.

Amendola reportedly has torn adductors in his hip and was just lightly running, going through agility drills before catching some soft passes. Amendola did not take part in all drills.

The only players missing were Matthew Slater and Marquice Cole. Slater is expected to be out at least four weeks with a broken wrist suffered in the Jets game while Cole is out with an unspecified issue, though the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin reports that Cole was excused to go home and be on hand for the birth of his child.

Read More: Danny Amedola, Marquice Cole, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
Report: Rob Gronkowski 50-50 for Sunday’s game vs. Bucs 09.17.13 at 12:14 pm ET
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The Patriots are “increasingly optimistic” that Rob Gronkowski will be back on the field sooner rather than later. According to Ed Werder of ESPN, there’s a 50-50 chance he makes his return to the lineup Sunday against Tampa Bay.

The tight end, who has yet to play this season because of a variety of offseason surgeries to his back and forearm, would certainly provide a jolt to the New England passing, which has struggled without several familiar faces in the lineup.

In addition, several outlets are reporting that special teams captain Matthew Slater will miss upcoming games because of a hand or wrist injury. Slater apparently suffered the injury in last Thursday’s win over the Jets.

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

Read More: Matthew Slater, Rob Gronkowski,
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