FOXBORO -- A pair of offensive tackles were missing at the start of Patriots practice on Friday as Marcus Cannon and Sebastian Vollmer were not spotted on the upper grass fields. The Patriots worked in sweats and shells as they continued preparing for the Redskins this Sunday at FedEx Field. 

Jets coach Rex Ryan has taken some heat for his underachieving team this season, but Ryan remains as confident as ever. Talking to the New York Daily News' Mike Lupica, Ryan was asked about the Patriots, who lead the 7-5 Jets by two games in the AFC East.

FOXBORO -- For an NFL team, choosing between Clay Matthews or Rob Gronkowski might be the ultimate win-win scenario.

FOXBORO -- The Patriots released their practice report Thursday, and the only change from Wednesday's list was the move of linebacker Brandon Spikes, who had been dogged by a knee injury, from DNP to limited. In all, the Patriots listed 13 players as limited in participation for the session. Thursday's complete injury report is as follows:

Did Not Participate:
OT Sebastian Vollmer (back, foot)
RB Stevan Ridley (not injury related)

Limited Participation:
CB Kyle Arrington (foot)

FOXBORO -- Linebacker Brandon Spikes was back at practice on Thursday as the Patriots practiced in sweats and shells on the upper grass fields at Gillette Stadium. Spikes injured his right knee during the loss to the Giants on Nov. 6 and hasn't played since. The team is continuing its field preparation for the Redskins this Sunday at FedEx Field outside Washington, D.C. 

Spikes, who reportedly sprained his MCL, was wearing a protective wrap over his right knee during practice. 

FOXBORO -- With three-quarters of the regular-season in the books, there’s little debate as to who the most impactful Patriots’ rookie of 2011 has been: offensive lineman Nate Solder wins the honor almost by default.

FOXBORO -- The Patriots released their practice report Wednesday and indicated that rookie running back Stevan Ridley's absence was not injury related. Linebacker Brandon Spikes and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer were the other two Patriots to miss with lingering injuries. The Patriots listed 12 players as limited in participation during the full pads practice inside the Dana Farber Field House outside Gillette Stadium. Wednesday's complete injury report is as follows:

Did Not Participate:
LB Brandon Spikes (knee)

FOXBORO -- From the success of Tim Tebow to the demise of Albert Haynesworth in New England, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan provided some candid insight Wednesday on conference call with the New England media. As the coach who traded Haynesworth to the Patriots in July, Shanahan told reporters he was hardly surprised with the way his brief tenure ended in New England. 

FOXBORO -- Call it the Curse of Jabar Gaffney.

Despite much speculation to the contrary, the Patriots will not be flexed out of their 4:15 ET slot on Dec. 18 when they play Tim Tebow and the Broncos in Denver, the NFL announced on Wednesday afternoon.  

The initial deadline for CBS and NBC to decide on whether to switch the game to an 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff was Tuesday but the NFL extended it to Wednesday. The game will remain on CBS and the Ravens and Chargers in San Diego will remain the primetime game that night on NBC.