McCourty doubtful vs. Chiefs
FOXBOROUGH - The Patriots’ secondary, which was so depleted a week ago that undrafted rookie Sterling Moore, who was promoted off the practice squad days earlier and had never played a snap in the NFL, was playing safety after a college career at cornerback, will likely be without another one of its major components tomorrow night against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Patriots announced yesterday that cornerback Devin McCourty, who suffered a separated shoulder in the win over the Jets while colliding with Moore, is listed as doubtful. McCourty did return to practice yesterday, but was limited.
Safety Patrick Chung, whose absence led to the Patriots playing Moore last Sunday night, is listed as questionable with a right foot injury.
If Chung can play, Moore could shift to corner.
Whatever the secondary ends up looking like, safety James Ihedigbo said it will provide another opportunity for players to step in and show what they have.
“It’s how it’s been all year, guys have to seize the opportunity,’’ Ihedigbo said. “Dev’s a phenomenal player. [If] he’s up, he’s playing, he’s going to be flying around there and making plays. If a guy has to step up, then a guy has to step up. That’s how it is in this league.’’
The Patriots still have a depth problem at linebacker, as Brandon Spikes (knee) and Dane Fletcher (thumb) are out. Rookie Jeff Tarpinian, also a surprise starter against the Jets, returned to practice yesterday after missing two days because of an illness. He is listed as questionable.
If Tarpinian can’t play, Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton - who didn’t step on the field last week despite being in uniform, Tracy White, and Niko Koutouvides are the team’s only options at linebacker.
In addition to Tarpinian and Chung, New England listed 11 players as questionable: Kyle Arrington (foot), Dan Connolly (groin), Shaun Ellis (rib), Kevin Faulk (knee), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe), Guyton (shoulder), Ihedigbo (shoulder), Taylor Price (hamstring), Matthew Slater (shoulder), Nate Solder (concussion), and Sebastian Vollmer (back).
Brian Waters (knee) and Wes Welker (knee) are probable.
The Patriots practiced on the Gillette Stadium field yesterday, and players were in shells (soft pads) and sweatpants. They were not in full pads this week, though given the number of injuries, that may have been done with an eye toward the team’s health.
The Chiefs added linebacker Demorrio Williams (groin) to their injury report. He will miss the game, as will quarterback Matt Cassel, who underwent hand surgery last Monday.
Four Chiefs are questionable: cornerbacks Brandon Carr (ankle) and Brandon Flowers (back), defensive end Glenn Dorsey (knee), and safety Jon McGraw (shoulder).
Lack of tech support
The Ravens and the Buccaneers have put their playbooks on iPads, but don’t expect the Patriots to make the switch.
“There’s so much technology out there, you could go to whatever you want. I’m sure we have enough technological equipment in here to put the whole team on the moon,’’ coach Bill Belichick said last week. “In the end, it comes down to blocking and tackling and running and throwing and catching and kicking and solid fundamentals and all that. You could put the iPad on the super-duper wizard computer and whatever you want. You could throw all that crap on there and I’m sure it would come out great. I’m sure you could get some statistical analysis that would provide 28 theses for MIT.
“In the end, you have to go out there and play football. Personally, I wouldn’t lose too much sight of that.’’
Many of the players were seeking a nap shortly after practice ended yesterday, after a group of them took a small bus to Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday night to see rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West in their “Watch the Throne’’ tour. The trip meant a late arrival home, and they had to be at Gillette early yesterday.
The concert tour will stop at TD Garden tomorrow night, but at that time the Patriots will be busy with the Chiefs.