FOXBORO -- The Patriots took the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium on Wednesday without three starters.
Marcus Cannon, Chris Hogan and Malcom Brown were all missing from the start of the workout, which was the team's second of the week. Cannon has an ankle injury, which he aggravated against the Chargers in Week 8. Hogan is dealing with a shoulder issue that occurred at the end of the win over the Chargers two weeks ago. Brown has an ankle ailment, and he has not practiced since suffering the injury in the second half against the Falcons in Week 7.
How would the Patriots fill in if they were to be without any of those three for this weekend's game in Denver?
* LaAdrian Waddle would likely be the choice to play right tackle should Cannon miss time. He subbed in for Cannon against the Chargers and performed admirably, according to offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. Waddle and Cameron Fleming are the team's two swing tackles, but Waddle has earned the nod over Fleming most recently.
* If Hogan can't play, that could mean more work for Phillip Dorsett. The former Colts wideout has drawn solid reviews from both Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels this week, and because the Patriots lean so heavily on their 11-personnel packages that could mean Dorsett finds himself heavily involved as the team's No. 3 receiver.
* Brown missed the win over Los Angeles, leaving more work on the interior of the defensive line for Lawrence Guy and Alan Branch. The Patriots recently signed Ricky Jean-Francois to their active roster, and he could provide some interior presence for Belichick and Matt Patricia moving forward.
Julian Edelman is grinding.
The New England Patriots receiver, who is recovering from an ACL repair surgery that ended his 2017 season, shared a quick video from his workout on Tuesday. Edelman is shown running with a resistance band and a trainer in-tow.
Edelman has posted a few tidbits on social media to show encouraging signs during his recovery since he got surgery in October after suffering an ACL tear in a preseason game. He was spotted around the locker room a few times during the final weeks of the 2017 season.
"Rehab is a [expletive]. It sucks," Edelman said in November on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take podcast." "You go in and you’re feeling decent and then you warm up, you beat it up and then you get stiff again. I mean it’s just a process and you go in six days a week and you’re going into work it, work on everything — your flexion, your extension."
Steelers tight end Jesse James is glad the Patriots' Super Bowl pursuit is done -- mostly because he played a big part in helping accelerate it.
In the final moments of the game, James failed to catch the ball during a Week 15 contest between the Steelers and the Patriots. The non-catch was a controversial one.
James told Centre Daily Times' Josh Moyer he finally felt relief on the morning after the Super Bowl when the Patriots fell to the Eagles, 41-33.
“I don’t feel like I gave them a Super Bowl with that,” James told the Daily Times. “So I’m over it now, but it’s going to be a topic of conversation until the rule gets changed — or it doesn’t.”
James' play was initially ruled a touchdown before the referees overturned the play, and took the lead away from the Steelers in the final moments of the game. Ben Roethlisberger then threw an interception a few plays later. By winning, the Patriots took a huge step in locking themselves into the AFC's top seed with a first-round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which they rode into the Super Bowl.
But of course, they couldn't finish their Super Bowl pursuit -- to James' satisfaction.