FOXBOROUGH — Wide receiver Julian Edelman was added to the Patriots’ injury report Thursday, listed as limited in practice with a foot injury.
Edelman, who has had two surgeries on his left foot in the past year, had been a full participant in every other regular-season practice. He was, however, limited during the preseason.
Edelman was in the locker room before practice and appeared to walk normally. Last November, he broke a bone in his foot during a game against the Giants, and New England’s offense was never the same without him.
Right tackle Marcus Cannon missed practice with a calf injury that had him limited Wednesday. Running back Brandon Bolden (knee), linebacker Shea McClellin (concussion), and defensive tackle Vincent Valentine (back) also did not participate.
Running back LeGarrette Blount (hip), quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett (right thumb) and Jimmy Garoppolo (right shoulder), linebackers Jonathan Freeny (shoulder) and Dont’a Hightower (knee), tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring), and left guard Joe Thuney (shoulder) also were limited.
Gauging each other
There’s an expectations game being played in New England and Cleveland, days before the actual game.
Players around Gillette Stadium are quick to note that the Browns are better than their 0-4 record.
“You can’t look at the record, that’s not a direct reflection of how that team is playing,” said Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan. “They’ve got a lot of good players, and they’re capable of doing a lot of things so you just have to, we just have to, we’ve got to come out early, we have to come out fast. They come out and they’re a high-energy team and they’ve got a lot of playmakers.
“They’ve just been on the unfortunate side of many close games,” said defensive end Trey Flowers. “You’ve got to play them and respect them and how hard they’re playing.”
Meanwhile, those in the Buckeye State are aware that they could be on the receiving end of the Tom Brady Revenge Tour’s opening day.
“Let me say this much: I hope there is an adjustment period [for Brady],” said Browns coach Hue Jackson. “I would not think there would be for him.
“This is Tom Brady we are talking about, and he is chomping at the bit to play. He does not like sitting out games, so he will come back and he will play as well as he has played.”
Rob Ninkovich is also back from suspension, but the Patriots maintain that the boost is insignificant if the team doesn’t play better than it did in last Sunday’s loss to the Bills.
“We’ve played a ton of games with those guys, and we’ve done well, but we’ve lost with those guys, too, so obviously having them back doesn’t solve all our issues,” said safety Devin McCourty.
Fullback James White provided a good summation: “Every team is good in the NFL. You can’t take anybody lightly.”
The Browns keep defenses off-balance with a number of personnel packages, multiple tight ends, an unbalanced line, and a heavy dose of the wildcat with Terrelle Pryor and, from time to time, Duke Johnson. Quarterback Cody Kessler can scramble a bit, too.
“They’ve got explosive plays in the passing game, explosive plays in the running game, a number of different formation variations, personnel variations, and so forth that are difficult to defend,” said Bill Belichick.
All that adds up to a challenge for the Patriots defense that’s as mental as it is physical.
“They do a lot of shifts and motion, so just being able to get the communication out, get the play calling, get the line right is going to be a top priority,” Flowers said.
The Browns are the youngest team in football, but left tackle Joe Thomas has played all 148 of his career games in Cleveland and has never missed a snap. Thomas has been on the field for 9,203 consecutive snaps — the longest active stretch in the NFL. “His career is remarkable,” said Belichick. “It’s incredible, really. Over 9,200 straight plays; never missed a play. I mean, you just don’t see guys like that very often.” . . . Three Bills defensive backs said they were fined for their involvement in a scuffle before last Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Safety Robert Blanton, who shoved Brissett as the quarterback was running on the field during warm-ups, told the Associated Press he was fined $21,000, while cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman said he was fined $10,000. Safety Aaron Williams, who was also fined, declined to disclose the amount but said, “It’s up there.”