FOXBORO -- Nate Ebner and Stephen Gostkowski were both spotted by reporters on hand at Patriots practice Saturday, giving New England perfect attendance for the first time this week.
Ebner did not practice Thursday or Friday due to a concussion suffered in the AFC Championship, while Gostkowski missed the sessions due to illness.
Gostkowski is a perfect five-for-five on field goals this postseason with a long of 47 yards in last week’s win over the Steelers. He did miss an extra point in that game, making him seven-of-eight on PATs in the playoffs.
Friday saw Julio Jones return to practice for the Falcons with limited participation. Both Jones (toe sprain) and center Alex Mack were scheduled to sit out this week’s practices, but Jones got back on the field sooner than expected.
FOXBORO -- It appears the Patriots will be without Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe again Sunday.
Neither player was seen on the field for the media portion of Friday’s practice, capping a week in which neither Gilmore (concussion) nor Rowe (groin) practiced. Harvey Langi also remained off the field a week after his car accident.
Assuming the Patriots are without Gilmore and Rowe, a secondary that has struggled this season will face an even bigger challenge against Atlanta’s passing attack Sunday night.
FOXBORO -- Julio Jones: He’s the best, right? No? No touchdowns this season? He stinks? He’s going to score against the Patriots because their defense stinks? Real breakout game for ol’ No. 11 in red? Who knows?! Lmao.
I’ll tell you what Bill Belichick knows: That Jones is not a one-dimensional player. While “deep threat” might be the first thing that comes to mind with ol’ No. 11 in red, Belichick said the Patriots are preparing for anything and everything from ol’ No. 11 in red.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t say [he’s just a deep threat],” Belichick said. “I mean, he catches a lot of in-cuts, a lot of over routes, out routes, the one he caught against us last year. He’s good on catch-and-run plays, he’s hard to tackle, he’s strong, slants, so he’s pretty good on everything. You know, same thing, but I mean, they screened everybody. They screened the backs and the receivers and Gabriel, Jones. I mean, they all can get the ball. They’re not just going to screen to one guy and just key on that guy. They mix it up.”
The Patriots will mix it up with the Falcons Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. Jones has 25 catches for 367 yards on the season.