As you may have seen in shake's injury report post (now updated with the Pats report -shake), we see a number of Patriots "returning" to practice. I take this with a grain of salt as the players were noticed at the media portion of practice; the rest of practice is closed to all but team personnel, so whether or not they're playing is STILL anyone's guess. Maybe they're return to practice is Hoodie's way of making the Colts prepare for players who may not be there. Maybe they really WILL play. At any rate, I'll run through the returns as if they're playing and get some conversation going on their impact.
- WR Julian Edelman - Edelman earned his stripes when Wes Welker missed a few games earlier in the season. He came up to speed quick and displayed Welker-like quickness and good hands. He "could" work well as our third receiver or rotate in and out with Welker. Given the choice, I'd want Welker on the field, but it's nice to have Julian on board.
- RB Sammy Morris - Morris adds depth and can be a better fit when Laurence Maroney is having trouble. He also has good hands and can serve as a checkdown option when needed.
- LT Matt Light - Sebastian Vollmer has been filling in for Light and doing a fine job. However, LT lines up against Dwight Freeney. Belichick will have to make a choice: the experienced veteran just coming back from an injury or the fresh rookie who's been doing well. Ultimately, I think they'll start Vollmer, see how he handles Freeney, and use Light if the rookie is in trouble.
- C Dan Koppen - This is big, especially against Indy. I'd much rather have the experienced guy swallowing up Indy's defensive linemen.
- S Brandon Meriweather - Another positive return. I was concerned when he ended up on the injury report as he's one of the Patriots more productive safeties. Brandown McGowan will most likely take FS duties and be assigned Dallas Clark while Meriweather gets SS.
- LB Eric Alexander - Alexander is not a game changer, but he adds depth when needed. It's good to have him on board.