Dec 15, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Boyce (82) catches a pass as Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes (21) defends the play during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots' Josh Boyce, Matthew Slater take practice field

The New England Patriots have been missing many important players due to injury. Two of them, Josh Boyce and Matthew Slater, too the practice field today, which means they have been activated off the PUP list.

Josh Boyce will jump into the mix with the wide receivers. Fellow second-year receiver Kenbrell Thompkins was getting all the love so far this training camp. With so few tight ends at camp, the Patriots will be wide receiver reliant in their passing offense. That means there should be snaps for three wide receivers, maybe four. Boyce will fight with Thompkins, Dobson and LaFell for the spot. His speedy return to the field could make a big difference in setting himself above the pack.

Matthew Slater, pro bowler and special teams captain, will be an asset on the field to help guide the rookies. If the younger players want to make the roster, they need only make an impact on special teams — that alone has guaranteed many Patriots (such as Slater or Nate Ebner) roster spots. Slater is an impressive leader and should have an immediate impact as a mentor. His official position, wide receiver, has become a misnomer. He might line up for some plays during camp, but he’s struggled to make an impact during games. The 28-year-old seems to have missed his opportunity to play much on offense.

Tags: New England Patriots

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