Rob Ninkovich is expected to be busy Sunday afternoon against the Green Bay Packers.
Incumbent long snapper Danny Aiken is inactive for the New England Patriots due to a concussion, which means that the veteran defensive end – and No. 2 snapper – will be filling in on special teams. Ninkovich saw reps doing so in the preseason, and has experience doing so dating back to his time with the New Orleans Saints.
In addition to Aiken, the Patriots also announced that halfback James White, offensive tackle Cameron Fleming, offensive guard Jordan Devey, defensive end Chandler Jones, linebacker Chris White and cornerback Malcolm Butler will be inactive.
For James White, a fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin, it is the 10th time this season he will not suit up for New England. The rookie ball-carrier, as well as Devey and Butler, were not listed on the team’s injury report Friday.
Fleming, Jones and Chris White, on the other hand, were listed as questionable with ankle, hip and ankle injuries.
With those seven off the 46-man gameday roster, Aaron Dobson finds himself on it. The Marshall product is one of six wide receivers active for the Patriots. The 2013 second-round pick last played in Week 6 and has been inactive eight times this season. But after donning a black jersey as one of New England’s practice players of the week, the long wait has ended in reward.
Linebacker Darius Fleming, who was called up from the practice squad to fill the 53-man roster on Saturday, also knows something about a long wait. Having overcome two torn ACLs in the same knee, the third-year pro now has a chance to play in his first regular-season NFL game at Lambeau Field. The former San Francisco 49ers fifth-round pick was last on New England’s active roster in September, yet was among the inactives for the season opener before being waived on Sept. 13.
As for the Packers’ side, quarterback Scott Tolzien, receiver Jeff Janis, tight end Justin Perillo, offensive lineman Garth Gerhart, defensive lineman Luther Robinson, linebacker Carl Bradford and cornerback Demitri Goodson will be inactive for the 4:25 p.m. kickoff.