Patriots

Patriots-Steelers practice report: Branch misses second straight day

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Patriots-Steelers practice report: Branch misses second straight day

FOXBORO -- It looks like the Patriots are going to be down one of their top defensive tackles against one of the best running backs in the league.

Alan Branch did not participate during Patriots practice on Thursday, making it two consecutive absences for the 350-pounder. Branch injured his knee against the Dolphins on Monday night and did not return to the game.

If he can't go against Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers, that might stress the workloads of tackles Lawrence Guy and Malcom Brown. Rookie interior lineman Adam Butler could also be in line for more playing time if Branch is out. 

It might behoove the Patriots to focus in on Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Pittsburgh's passing game. But if Branch is out, the Patriots may have to do some scheming in order to help their banged-up front-seven defend the run. Trey Flowers, Kyle Van Noy, Deatrich Wise, Eric Lee and David Harris were all limited during Thursday's workout.

Also missing from Thursday's session was Johnson Bademosi, who is dealing with an illness. Bademosi was present in the Patriots locker room during the media availability sessions following practice.

Here's Thursday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
DL Alan Branch (knee)
CB Johnson Bademosi (Illness)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
CB Malcolm Butler (ankle)
DL Trey Flowers (ribs)
CB Stephon Gilmore (ankle)
LB David Harris (ankle)
WR Chris Hogan (shoulder)
DB Brandon King (hamstring)
DL Eric Lee (ankle)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)
LB Kyle Van Noy (calf)
OT LaAdrian Waddle (ankle)
DL Deatrich Wise Jr. (foot)

FULL PARTICIPATION
QB Tom Brady (Achilles)
WR Brandin Cooks (hand)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Vance McDonald (shoulder)
CB Coty Sensabaugh (shoulder)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
CB Joe Haden (fibula)
LB Tyler Matakevich (shoulder)
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring)
C Maurkice Pouncey (hip)

FULL PARTICIPATION
WR Martavis Bryant (not injury related)
DE Stephon Tuitt (illness)

Brady calls on Denzel for help with AFC Championship Game hype video

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Brady calls on Denzel for help with AFC Championship Game hype video

Tom Brady's thumb is apparently feeling good enough for yet another pregame social media post.

This time, TB12 calls on Denzel Washington for a little help with the narration. "Remember The Titans"? No, that was last week. We're on to Jacksonville, remember?

The hype video uses Washington's 2011 commencement speech at the University of Pennsylvania for the narration: 

#LFG

Posted by Tom Brady on Saturday, January 20, 2018

Not to be outdone, Brady's BFF Julian Edelman, out all season after tearing his ACL in the preseason, provides the narration for his own hype video: 

Is it Sunday at 3 yet?

Report: Burkhead collision with Brady caused QB's injury

Report: Burkhead collision with Brady caused QB's injury

The culprit has been identified. 

NFL Media's Mike Garafolo reports it was Patriots running back Rex Burkhead who collided with Tom Brady at practice, resulting in the thumb injury that has throw New England in a tizzy over the quarterback's readiness for the AFC Championship Game Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium. 

"Rex Burkhead was the running back," Garafolo said on "Good Morning Football." "They were colliding as they were doing some sort of handoff in a little drill. I don't know exactly what happened, but it resulted in a cut. There was blood all over the place and it was significant."

That jibes with the account told to NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran:

Brady’s right thumb bent back badly when he was smashed into by a running back. Somehow, the ball got jammed back into the webbing between his thumb and index finger and it caused a cut. Might have been the laces. There may be stitches. He’s not taking snaps under center. He can take them in shotgun. He’s trying not to aggravate the thumb between now and kickoff so the reps are at a minimum. He can throw. I have no idea how hard, how far or how accurately.

Brady is listed as questionable for the first time for a playoff game, but Garafolo reports that TB12 "should be good to go."

"Receivers [at practice] didn't notice anything different from what I gather," Garafolo said. "We'll see how much of a factor it is if he has to squeeze it into a tight window, but from what I am told he should be good to go."

Burkhead is also listed as questionable with a knee injury. He hasn't played since the victory over the Steelers Dec. 17.