FOXBORO -- If you are putting together a list of Bill Belichick’s football-related regrets, trading Deion Branch in 2006 is probably near the top of the list.



FOXBORO -- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was removed from the Patriots injury report on Thursday, a day where New England had perfect attendance at practice. Check out the full report here:

Limited Participation
CB Kyle Arrington (foot)
OL Marcus Cannon (ankle)
C Dan Connolly (groin)
LB Dane Fletcher (thumb)
S James Ihedigbo (shoulder)
G Logan Mankins (knee)
LB Rob Ninkovich (hip)
WR Matthew Slater (shoulder)
LB Brandon Spikes (knee)
T Sebastian Vollmer (back/foot)

FOXBORO -- Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins said Thursday he was "day-to-day" when asked about his injured left leg.

The left guard, regarded as one of the toughest players on the team, was injured on Dec. 24 against the Dolphins, and hasn't played since then. He returned to practice for the first time on Tuesday and has been limited in terms of workload

FOXBORO -- In their final full practice before their AFC Divisional Playoff on Saturday night, the Patriots had everyone back in attendance inside the Dana Farber Field House on Thursday afternoon. The team worked out inside a chilly field house in sweats and shells for a second straight day after practicing in full pads on Tuesday.

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick heaped praise on receiver Deion Branch on Thursday, placing him among the smartest players he has ever coached in a Patriots uniform. Belichick pointed to Branch's ability to read a defense and adjust his route accordingly, giving Tom Brady an open and available target. 

The Bears have announced that the Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht is one of four candidates who will interview for the vacant Chicago GM job. In his 16th NFL season, Licht is in the second of two stints with the Patriots. He re-joined the Patriots personnel department in 2009 after previously spending four seasons (1999-2002) with New England. In 2008, Licht served as a personnel executive for Arizona after spending five seasons with Philadelphia as VP of player personnel (2006-07) and assistant director of player personnel (2003-05).

FOXBORO -- The Patriots’ defense that will face Tim Tebow and the Broncos on Saturday night is a different group that the one that met Denver last month.



FOXBORO -- The only member of the Patriots roster who was not present at Wednesday's practice session was defensive lineman Kyle Love, but the team announced Wednesday afternoon that his absence was not injury related. In addition, New England listed quarterback Tom Brady on the report with a left shoulder, but indicated he participated fully in practice. Check out the rest of the injury report here:

Did Not Practice
DL Kyle Love (not injury related)

Limited Participation
CB Kyle Arrington (foot)

FOXBORO -- Defensive lineman Kyle Love was the only player not spotted at Patriots practice on Wednesday as the team continues on-field planning for the Broncos this Saturday night at Gillette Stadium. 

The team practiced in sweats and shells on lower grass field after using their allotted day to work in full pads on Tuesday, when the Patriots had perfect attendance. 

The Patriots will have one more day of full practice on Thursday before going through their routine walkthough on Friday, the day before the game. 

Former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest checked in with the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about Saturday's Patriots-Broncos playoff game.

McGinest played on three Super Bowl-winning teams in New England, but that was as part of a much stronger defense than the one that will take the field this weekend.