FOXBORO — For the second straight day, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was the only player missing from the start of Patriots practice, a session held on the upper fields behind Gillette Stadium in sweats and shells. (Hoomanawanui suffered a knee injury in the loss to the Panthers.) The Patriots continue their prep work for Sunday night’s game against the Broncos in Foxboro.

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FOXBORO -- It’s not always advisable to go too deeply inside the numbers looking for statistical patterns when you talk about the Patriots -- New England is a game-plan team that has the ability to use multiple looks on both sides of the ball.

FOXBORO — As far as Aqib Talib is concerned, there are no grudges with Steve Smith.

The Patriots corner and Panthers receiver engaged in a few dustups on Monday night when the two teams met in Carolina. After the game, Smith got in a verbal jab on Talib, who didn’t finish the game because of a hip injury, telling the New England defensive back to “Ice up, son. Ice up.”

Talib said he didn’t have anything to add.

FOXBORO — Despite continuing injuries on the defensive side, the Patriots had only one absence Wednesday as they began on-field preparations for Sunday night’s game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium.

Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was the only player not spotted during the media portion of practice as the team worked out in sweats and shells on the upper grass fields outside Gillette.

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick said his piece about what he felt about the non-call at the end of Monday night’s game immediately afterward. He has no plans of publicly addressing it any further.

Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard will be out a few weeks after having a small meniscus procedure performed on his knee, according to a report from Ian Rapoport at NFL Network.

Dennard missed Monday’s loss to the Panthers after showing up on the injury report in the middle of last week.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday for his weekly chat, and the main topic of discussion was the controversial ending to Monday night’s game, when pass interference was called and then waived off, giving the Panthers a 24-20 victory.

It was a distinct shot across the bow of Aqib Talib, and a reminder of just how tenuous things are when it comes to the Patriots secondary.

Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, told the NFL Network on Tuesday that the officiating crew who worked Monday night’s Patriots-Panthers game — which ended with a disputed call in the end zone — made the right decision in picking up the flag.

Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater checked in with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to discuss Monday’s 24-20 loss to the Panthers that ended in controversy.