FOXBORO -- Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo was fined $21,000 by the NFL Friday for his big hit on Cardinals receiver Early Doucet in the third quarter of last Sunday's game. Doucet came over the middle to make the catch and held onto the ball after Mayo delivered a crushing blow on the final play of the third quarter. 

Doucet bounced back to his feet nearly immediately and remained in the game and there was no penalty called on the play. The fine was doled out for "striking a defenseless receiver in the head/neck area."

FOXBORO -- As expected, Aaron Hernandez will miss his first game Sunday night when the Patriots play the Ravens in Baltimore. Hernandez sprained his right ankle midway through the first quarter of a loss last Sunday to the Cardinals. The Patriots also ruled out defensive lineman Justin Francis, who missed the last two practices with an ankle injury as well. 

Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports NFL analyst Peter King checked in with Mut & Merloni for his weekly Patriots Friday appearance and weighed in on some key issues involving the Patriots.

Wes Welker's cut in playing time has been a huge issue in New England this week. King speculated that Welker is indeed being phased out.

FOXBORO -- Aaron Hernandez, who was spotted in the locker room Friday limping on his sprained right ankle, was among three Patriots players missing Friday's practice with ankle issues. Also not spotted Friday were defensive linemen Brandon Deaderick and Justin Francis. 

Hernandez, who is expected to miss this Sunday's game and the next several weeks, had a cart near his locker to help with mobility as he put on the walking boot on his right foot. Hernandez has missed all three practices this week while Deaderick injured his ankle during Thursday's full pads practice. 

FOXBORO -- Despite just arriving in Foxboro this week with the team, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said before Friday's final full practice that tight end Kellen Winslow could play a significant role in Sunday's game in Baltimore. Winslow was brought into New England earlier this month for a meeting with the Patriots but no contract was signed. That all changed when Aaron Hernandez went down with a right ankle injury in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. 

FOXBORO -- Mention the name Ray Lewis to Vince Wilfork and his eyes light up.



NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the Patriots and news from around the league.

Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton said after Sunday's 20-18 Arizona victory that the Patriots were tipping their plays, helping his defense keep the potent New England offense in check. Lombardi laughed off Horton's comments.

While some have questioned the offensive rhythm of the Patriots through two games -- and wondered how much things will change under new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels -- one thing they’ve stayed consistent with is their use of the no-huddle offense.

FOXBORO -- The Patriots added defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick (ankle) and offensive lineman Logan Mankins (hip) to the injury report on Thursday. Both players were listed as "limited" at practice, joining a group of eight other players who also were limited. Here's the full injury report:

Did not participate
DT Justin Francis (ankle)
TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle)

FOXBORO -- When it comes to replacing Aaron Hernandez in the Patriots’ offense, Kellen Winslow Jr. knows he’ll only be a small part of the puzzle.