Linebacker Surprise Scratch Vs. Miami

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Anfernee Jennings looked like he might enter his third Patriots season as a defensive starter. Instead, he’s a healthy scratch.

The 25-year-old linebacker was a surprise inactive for New England’s Week 1 matchup with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Jennings often aligned opposite Pro Bowl edge rusher Matthew Judon during training camp and the preseason, projecting as an early-down contributor in the Patriots’ new-look front seven. His removal from the 46-man gameday roster could lead to a larger role for fellow 2020 draftee Josh Uche, who’s mostly been used as a situational pass rusher in his NFL career.

Notably absent from New England’s inactive list: running back Ty Montgomery. Montgomery, who was carted to the locker room during the Patriots’ preseason finale against the Las Vegas Raiders, will suit up Sunday after returning to practice earlier this week. He had been listed as questionable with a knee injury.

It’s unclear whether Montgomery, who was not spotted during early pregame warmups, will be limited in any way. The running back/receiver hybrid projects as a possible replacement for retired third-down back James White, with Rhamondre Stevenson also expected to contribute in that area. Damien Harris, Stevenson and Montgomery will be the Patriots’ running backs against Miami, with fourth-round rookie Pierre Strong sitting out as a healthy scratch.

Rounding out New England’s inactives were safety Joshuah Bledsoe, cornerback Shaun Wade, offensive lineman Chasen Hines, defensive lineman Sam Roberts and quarterback Bailey Zappe. Bledsoe was listed as questionable with a groin injury; the rest were healthy inactives.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.

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