Shortly before flying to Houston, the Patriots ruled out cornerback Jalen Mills and rookie linebacker Ronnie Perkins for Sunday’s game against the Texans.
Mills had been listed as questionable with a hamstring injury, after he played a key role in the defense’s strong showing last weekend against Tampa Bay. His absence may force the Pats to start backup Joejuan Williams opposite J.C. Jackson. Williams was a healthy scratch against the Bucs.
Staring nickelback Jonathan Jones could also move outside, though he’s best suited in the slot and at safety and currently dealing with an ankle injury. Jackson and Williams are the team’s only fully healthy corners, with Justin Bethel downgraded to questionable with a hamstring injury.
Perkins has yet to appear in an NFL game.
The Patriots are expected to announce two practice-squad elevations later Saturday afternoon, including at least one offensive linemen. In light of their downgrades, second-year defensive back Myles Bryant could also be a candidate for promotion.