Commentary

Brace, Wright could fill in for linemen

Updated: December 19, 2009, 8:37 PM ET
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Patriots will be without starting defensive linemen Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren, two of their best run-stoppers, for Sunday's road game against the Bills.

Wilfork, a key cog in the 3-4 defense at nose tackle, hurt his foot in last Sunday's 20-10 win over the Panthers. He returned for one play in the second half before leaving the field in pain, throwing his helmet to the ground.

Warren has been playing through an ankle injury, which he apparently re-aggravated last Sunday. He was hurt early in the fourth quarter and did not return.

This is a significant blow for the Patriots, although it could be lessened by the fact the Bills have a shaky situation on their offensive line.

Rookie Ron Brace is a top candidate to start in Wilfork's place, with first-year player Titus Adams another possibility. Five-year veteran Mike Wright is the projected starter for Warren at left end.

In addition to Wilfork and Warren, the Patriots downgraded running back Fred Taylor (ankle), guard Stephen Neal (ankle), tackle Nick Kaczur (shoulder) and defensive tackle Myron Pryor (chest) to out.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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