The Patriots are making some last minute roster updates prior to their Thursday game against the Jets. New England had been planning on placing the injured Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley on the injured reserve, ending their seasons, and had to make two corresponding roster moves.
The team is bringing up offensive guard Chris Barker and running back Jonas Gray from the practice squad.
Barker was cut during Week 1 of the season as the Patriots made room to sign special teamer Don Jones. Barker was subsequently added to the practice squad. He spent the 2013 season on the Patriots 53-man roster, which means the team thinks highly of him. He will provide depth while Bryan Stork and Dan Connolly recover from their concussions and Cameron Fleming fixes his fingers. Hopefully Barker won't see the field.
Gray is 5'10, 225 pound hammer of a running back who the Patriots signed back in January. He tore his ACL as a college senior in 2011 and has bounced around the league ever since. He has no NFL experience, but was the second best out of the Patriots running backs in the preseason with an average of 2.0 yards after contact (behind Ridley's 2.4 YAC). He forced six missed tackles, which according to Pro Football Focus made him the 7th most elusive running back in the preseason.
Unlike Barker, who we hope won't play, I expect Gray to have a basic role if activated. He will likely be a short yard specialist and a possible red zone weapon. If the conditions are as rainy as expected, the Patriots will need a running back who can attack the defense and make them pay. Gray is possibly that back.