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Patriots right tackle Trent Brown misses his third straight game

Patriots offensive lineman Trent Brown has been sidelined with a calf injury.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots were again short some starters for their Sunday night matchup with the reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.

Right tackle Trent Brown missed his third straight game as he deals with a calf injury he suffered early in the opener against the Dolphins. The ailment was originally described as minor and Brown has practiced in a limited capacity the last three weeks but has been unable to answer the bell on game day.

Additionally, inside linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, the club’s leading tackler with 19, was inactive because of shoulder injury that kept him on the sideline for the second half of last week’s loss to the Saints. Bentley practiced all week and on Thursday said he felt good.


In addition, cornerback Joejuan Williams was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. The third-year player had been mixing in the corner and safety rotation over the first three weeks.

Rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson, who fumbled in the opener, was inactive for the third straight game.

Tight end Devin Asiasi, linebacker Ronnie Perkins, and cornerback Shaun Wade rounded out the group and have yet to be active this season.

For the Buccaneers, receiver Jaelon Darden, quarterback Kyle Trask, guard Nick Leverett, and corner Jamel Dean were the game-day inactives. Tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs), running back Giovanni Bernard (knee), and outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul previously had been ruled out.

Gronkowski told Fox’s Jay Glazer he suffered “four cracked ribs, one broken rib, and a punctured lung” in last week’s loss to the Rams in Los Angeles.

Turning the page?

The Patriots have suffered a number of self-inflicted wounds this season — turnovers, costly penalties, and substitution slip-ups.

They are mistakes not usually associated with this franchise that perennially is in the mix for the postseason.

Devin McCourty, however, had a different take for those calling the mistakes un-Patriot-like.


“A lot of those things come down to everybody. It’s not just one player or two players. It’s players, coaches, it’s all of us being on the same page,’’ he said last week. “I always try to think of things, like, there’s no such thing as ‘it’s uncharacteristic of the Patriots.’ This is a new team. What guys on the team have done in the past, it really makes no difference to this team because those guys that were doing it are not here playing right now. So, it’s who we are right now, it’s what we put out there.’’

McCourty said the club is aware of the problems and they have been a point of emphasis in their preparations for the Buccaneers.

“We better have a sense of urgency to fix those things. Especially those things where the offense isn’t doing anything [against us], we’re killing ourselves,’’ he said. “Those are the things we just can’t have Sunday night. It’s a great time to get those things [fixed] against a team like this, because it will give us confidence going forward and it will show that we can do it.’’

McCourty added that “this is one of those weeks where we can have a bunch of ‘my bads.’ We’ve got to be on it.’’

Guerrero in the house

Brady’s fitness guru and business partner Alex Guerrero was on the field more than three hours before kickoff and caught up with Patriots head trainer Jim Whalen … A light but steady rain began about an hour before the game but did not seem to dampen the spirits of the packed house … The “Star-Spangled Banner” was performed by the Handel and Haydn Society … Just how much interest was there in Tom Brady’s return to New England?  The Patriots issued 506 media credentials for Sunday night’s game. That is more than double what the team issued for the season opener against the Miami Dolphins.


Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.