The players not present for the public portion of the Thursday workout were both CBs, Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs along with Ty Warren, Nick Kaczur and Kyle Eckel. Samuels and Hobbs were seen to be in the locker room, so there may not be a problem with them. However the absence of Ty and Nick is troubling. Warren has not had an injury, unless he got dinged in the Giants game, but Nick Kaczur has been battling a foot injury. If he can go, the Patriots pass protection and running game get better. Of significance I think is that Steve Neal, the starting RG and IMO the best pulling Right Guard in the League, is back at practice. Having him back should help the wide running and passing game. In his absence the Pats have been running inside the tackles pretty much, without much effort at wide sweeps. The number and success of screen passes, a commonly used weapon of the Patriots has seemingly declined as well. Its encouraging the TE Kyle Brady a key to the pass blocking and running game at TE is back at practice. Kyle Eckel is a valuable ST player, but his loss is not a major problem. It would seem that this Patriots team will only have the loss of Sammy Morris at RB and Rosey Colvin at OLB as they enter the playoffs, much better off than most of their playoff predecessors.