FOXBOROUGH — Rob Gronkowski traditionally meets with the media on Thursdays, but the big Patriots tight end decided against it this week, fueling speculation that he'll miss his second straight game Sunday against the Dolphins with a balky hamstring.
Gronkowski was on the practice field and seemed a tad more active than Wednesday, but he clearly wasn't 100 percent as he recovers from what last week he called "a little hammy thing."
He lined up in some early drills but basically shuffled in place when the ball was snapped while others ran routes.
The only player missing from the full-padded practice was linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who suffered a knee injury against the Cardinals. He also missed Wednesday's session.
Tackle Nate Solder (hamstring) and guard Jonathan Cooper (foot), who, like Gronkowski, didn't make the trip to Arizona, were also at practice.
Solder, who was injured against the Giants in the final preseason game, wasn't willing to predict whether he'd face the Dolphins but did say he was improving.
"Feeling good,'' Solder said before practice. "I just do the best I can every day to get prepared and be ready to play if that opportunity comes.''
Wide receiver Julian Edelman has been fined $26,000 for a hit on a defenseless player in last Sunday night's 23-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals, according to ESPN. He plans to appeal.
The play in question appears to be from the first quarter, when Edelman launched himself into Arizona's Deone Bucannon while blocking for Patriots running back James White.
Gase expects unexpected
The Patriots play the Bills during Halloween weekend, but another division rival is preparing for some disguises this weekend.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase said on a conference call the only common thread in all the game's he's matched up against Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is "that there are no commonalities."
"He's really tough for me, because I feel like every time we go in to play him, there's always something that's different," Gase said. "You think one thing and then something switches up. He does such a good job of keeping you off balance, and you're constantly working on the sideline."
Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said the same of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
"You're not 100 percent sure you're preparing for what they're going to do, because you don't know what they're going to do," Christensen said. "You just prepare to play football — play a good football team — and now you have to adjust on the sideline and your system has to take care of some of those things."
The Dolphins know even less about Jimmy Garoppolo after just one start than the Patriots as a whole, but Gase said he thought Garoppolo looked poised.
Gase had the chance to go after Garoppolo in the draft when he was offensive coordinator for the Broncos, but didn't spend much time looking at the quarterback, who the Patriots drafted in the second round, because he figured that Garoppolo wouldn't be available to him.
"We actually did look at him just to make sure that we had that covered if something happened. But we figured once we watched him, we were really impressed and figured that he wouldn't be there at a position for us to take him," Gase said.
Favre praises Garoppolo
Brett Favre praised the Patriots and Jimmy Garoppolo on his SiriusXM NFL Radio show, calling New England the team to beat in the AFC, Tom Brady suspension or no Tom Brady suspension.
"We talked about New England, they could not have asked for a better start without their guy, and if you're the other teams in the [AFC] East you've got to be thinking, 'We don't stand a chance!' So, amazing start for Garoppolo and the whole team in general."
Favre's co-host Bruce Murray mentioned that, being the only team in the division to win in week one, the Patriots have the chance to build a gap in the AFC East standings before Brady returns.
"New England with a big gap, not good if you're everyone else," Favre said. "Not good. Too well-coached, too many good players, they're too consistent, they're just not going to lay an egg. And their quarterback play was outstanding to hold them over until Tom comes back. I mean when Tom comes back you've got to be thinking, 'Oh my gosh.' "
Silberman joins in
Former Boston College offensive lineman Ian Silberman was also at the workout after being signed to the practice squad. Silberman, who played for BC in 2014 as a graduate student after playing at Florida, was a sixth-round pick of the 49ers in 2015. He was released in August and takes the place of Clay DeBord on New England's 10-man reserve unit. Silberman helped BC quarterback Tyler Murphy, also a Florida transfer, rush for 1,184 yards that season . . . Cornerback Eric Rowe was the only new addition to the injury report. He was a limited participant Thursday.
Globe correspondent Nora Princiotti contributed to this report. Jim McBride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org