Prior to the season, the New England Patriots have placed three players on the physically unable to perform list (PUP): wide receiver Brandon LaFell, linebacker Dane Fletcher and defensive tackle Chris Jones. While LaFell has been activated on October 24 and was active for the Patriots' week 7 game against the New York Jets, Fletcher and Jones will not join him on the 53-man roster.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, New England has elected not to activate the two defenders. Per rule, the Patriots had until today, 4:00 PM ET to decide their fate. The team had two options: either activate the players to the active roster or end their respective seasons via placing them on injured reserve. While both players practiced with the team the last three weeks, they apparently were not able to help the team at this point of the season.
Jones, who has a calf injury, is no surprise. The Patriots have had very good play at the defensive tackle position - especially with rookie Malcom Brown and second-year man Dominique Easley playing significant snaps.
Sending Fletcher, who would have returned from an ACL tear, to injured reserve might come as a minor surprise. The Patriots' top linebackers are Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, who missed the team's last three games due to an illness. Depth options Jerod Mayo and Jonathan Freeny were not exactly world beaters (although Mayo looked good against the Bills yesterday) and one could have thought that the veteran Fletcher might have helped. Obviously, the Patriots coaching staff didn't feel this way and has elected to end his season instead.