FOXBORO -- After spending an extended stretch on the shelf, wide receiver Julian Edelman returned to the practice field for the Patriots on Thursday. Edelman, who was injured in a September loss to Baltimore, was back on the field with a protective brace on his left hand. However, safety Steve Gregory, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui and linebacker Tracy White were all missing from the start of the session, which was held on the practice fields behind Gillette in sweats and shells.

Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes was criticized by some after he tweeted the following on Wednesday:

"I’m homophobic just like I’m arachnophobic. I have nothing against homosexuals or spiders but I’d still scream if I found one in my bathtub!"

FOXBORO -- Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, wide receiver Wes Welker and quarterback Tom Brady were all among those who were limited at Patriots practice on Wednesday afternoon. In addition, four players -- Julian Edelman, Steve Gregory, Michael Hoomanawanui and Tracy White -- did not dress. Here's the complete injury report:

 

Did Not Practice

Julian Edelman (hand)

Steve Gregory (hip)

Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion)

In a battle between one of the league’s best offenses and the league’s toughest defenses, the Patriots will try and stretch their winning streak to three Sunday when they face the Seahawks in Seattle.



FOXBORO -- Julian Edelman (hand), Steve Gregory (hip), Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion) and Tracy White (foot) were absent as the Patriots took the field for Wednesday's practice. Edelman, Gregory and Hoomanawanui were all inactive for the Pats' win Sunday against the Broncos, with White leaving the game with a foot injury. 

For more on the Patriots, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to preview Sunday's game against the Patriots in Seattle.

"We know that we're playing one of the great quarterbacks in the game, and he can do so many things," Carroll said of Tom Brady. "They're off to a torrid pace with what they're doing offensively. We're trying to figure it out. That's what we're in the midst of right now. We'll try to slow them down. We've got a good group on defense, they play hard and tough and all that. Each week is a new challenge."

While the 2007 Patriots set the standard for offensive excellence, it’s clear that after the first five games, the 2012 offense is just as potent. 



Report card time, and if Wes Welker goes back to the bench when Julian Edelman returns, we've really got a story. 



KIRK MINIHANE

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FOXBORO -- As was the case in 2011, the signature element of this year’s Patriots’ offense is the quick pace.



Patriots coach Bill Belichick had strong words of praise for this Sunday's opponent during his weekly appearance on The Big Show on WEEI, especially on defense where former Pats coach Pete Carroll has built a tough, fast team in his two-plus years as head coach.