Patriots' Neblett may be pressed into action Sunday

Patriots' Neblett may be pressed into action Sunday
October 11, 2013, 12:15 pm
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FOXBORO -- Before New England hit the practice field Friday, head coach Bill Belichick talked with reporters about his team's upcoming matchup with the Saints. Belichick keeps the game statuses of his players close to the vest, but he did share some thoughts on guys who may go.

Like newly-signed defensive lineman Andre Neblett.

"He's got some experience, played in Carolina and Tampa in preseason. We played against him," the coach said. "He's got good playing strength and he's played a decent number of plays over the past three years."

The four-year NFL veteran's addition to the roster doesn't spell good news for Tommy Kelly.

The defensive tackle missed every workout this week after injuring his right knee last Sunday in Cincinnati. His potential absence, combined with Vince Wilfork's, leaves New England to fill some big holes in the interior line with a couple of rookies. Joe Vellano and Chris Jones will certainly have their hands full with the Saints.

Belichick noted Neblett, 6-0, 310-pounds, has played both 3-technique and nose tackle.

On the other side of the ball, Austin Collie drew some interest. The Patriots brought the receiver in last week, just days before traveling to Cincinnati. Collie was inactive against the Bengals but not listed on the injury report, which might mean the turnaround was simply too fast to get him in last Sunday.

As for this week: "It's a process. I think we're definitely gaining ground. Austin's worked hard," Belichick said. "Chad O'Shea, our receivers coach, has spent a lot of time with him, a lot of extra time. I think it's coming. We'll see how close we feel like we are this week; today will be a big day. We'll review everything, go through some situations. He's got to put it all back together. We'll see how things go today and make some kind of decision on Sunday."

New England will release a full practice and participation report around 4 p.m.