Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning for his weekly chat about the Patriots and the NFL.

The Patriots host the Cowboys Sunday, and Lombardi predicts a battle.

FOXBORO -- It’s been a weird year for Devin McCourty.

FOXBORO -- Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, linebacker Jerod Mayo and safety Josh Barrett all missed practice for the Patriots on Thursday, but the Patriots announced that Wilfork's absence was not injury-related. Here's the complete practice report:

Did Not Practice
LB Jerod Mayo (left knee)
DL Vince Wilfork (not injury-related)
S Josh Barrett (thumb/hamstring)
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe)
DL Mike Wright (concussion, placed on injured reserve)

Limited Partcipation

FOXBORO -- Vince Wilfork and BenJarvus Green-Ellis were among the four Patriots not at the start of practice on Thursday as the team worked out in full pads on the main stadium field. 

Joining Wilfork and Green-Ellis on the absentee list were Jerod Mayo (knee) and Josh Barrett (thumb/hamstring). Wilfork was not on the injury report on Wednesday while Green-Ellis, with a toe injury, was among 10 Patriots players limited in practice. 

FOXBORO -- After sustaining another concussion in the season opener against the Dolphins, the Patriots made the decision Thursday to place defensive lineman Mike Wright on season-ending injured reserve. The move allows the team to re-sign cornerback Phillip Adams and add him to the roster. 

Wright took a hit to the head in the first week and didn't practice for the next three weeks. Wright was cleared to practice last week but was not activated for the game against the Jets. Wright had one tackle, one assist and a half-sack in the game against the Dolphins. 

FOXBORO -- Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, who is in the final year of a five-year, $18 million deal he signed with New England in 2007, said Wednesday he wants to stay with the Patriots.

“Well, of course I want to stay here,” Welker said in a conference call with Dallas media. “But as of right now, I don’t really think about it. I just try to focus on this year and everything I can do to help the team this year.”

The bulk of the 2012 Patriots' schedule had been known because of the schedule rotation, but the entire home-and-away portions of the schedule were finalized on Wednesday:

Home: San Francisco, Buffalo, Arizona, Indianapolis, Miami, New York Jets, Houston, one AFC West team (based on 2011 final standings).

Away: Buffalo, Miami, Jacksonville, New York Jets, St. Louis, Seattle, Tennessee, one AFC North team (based on final standings).

FOXBORO -- Linebacker Jerod Mayo (left knee), defensive lineman Mike Wright (concussion) and safety Josh Barrett (thumb/hamstring) all missed practice for the Patriots, who also had 10 players limited in their Wednesday afternoon session. Here's the complete practice report:

Did Not Practice
LB Jerod Mayo (left knee)
DL Mike Wright (concussion)
S Josh Barrett (thumb//hamstring)

Limited Partcipation
CB Leigh Bodden (thumb)
S Sergio Brown (chest)
CB Ras-I Dowling (hip)

FOXBORO -- Another week, another Ryan.

FOXBORO -- Three key offensive players returned to practice on Wednesday as the team began their on-field preparation for the Cowboys this Sunday at Gillette Stadium. 

Sebastian Vollmer (back), Danny Woodhead (ankle) and Julian Edelman (ankle) were all back in uniform and on the lower grass field for the Patriots at the start of practice while Jerod Mayo (left knee), Mike Wright (concussion) and Josh Barrett (hand) were the only players not spotted in shorts and shells at practice on the lower grass field.