The New England Patriots’ cornerback group has struggled with personnel consistency so far this season, with rookie standout Christian Gonzalez suffering a potentially season-ending shoulder injury as the latest blow. However, the unit did get some positive news this week as well.
Not only is Jonathan Jones healthy enough to play again after missing the last three games, the Patriots also reacquired former Pro Bowler J.C. Jackson via trade. While it remains to be seen how big their involvement will be against the New Orleans Saints in Week 5, the fact that both are active is a positive sign.
With the two veterans back in the mix, the Patriots now have five CBs available: Jones and Jackson, as well as Myles Bryant, Shaun Wade and rookie Ameer Speed. Versatile safety Jalen Mills also might factor into the cornerback mix yet again.
With all that said, let’s take a look at New England’s 48-man roster for Week 5.
Patriots game day roster
Quarterback (2): Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe
Running back (3): Rhamondre Stevenson, Ezekiel Elliott, Ty Montgomery II
Wide receiver (5): JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker, Demario Douglas, Matthew Slater
Tight end (3): Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki, Pharaoh Brown
Offensive tackle (3): Trent Brown, Riley Reiff, Vederian Lowe
Interior offensive line (5): Atonio Mafi, David Andrews, Michael Onwenu, Sidy Sow, Jake Andrews
Interior defensive line (6): Davon Godchaux, Christian Barmore, Deatrich Wise Jr., Lawrence Guy Sr., Sam Roberts, Jeremiah Pharms Jr. (PS)
Defensive edge (3): Keion White, Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings
Linebacker (5): Ja’Whaun Bentley, Jahlani Tavai, Marte Mapu, Mack Wilson Sr., Chris Board
Cornerback (5): Jonathan Jones, J.C. Jackson, Myles Bryant, Shaun Wade, Ameer Speed
Safety (5): Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips, Jabrill Peppers, Jalen Mills, Brenden Schooler
Specialists (3): K Chad Ryland, P/H Bryce Baringer, LS Joe Cardona
Besides the cornerback group, the Patriots also saw some movement along their offensive line. Riley Reiff will make his season debut, presumably as the starting right tackle — filling a role previously held by Calvin Anderson and Vederian Lowe. Also up front, the team will again rely on rookie Atonio Mafi to hold down the fort at left tackle with Cole Strange missing a second straight game.
Another big change compared to last week happened along the defensive edge. Matthew Judon will miss significant time with a biceps injury (even though there is optimism he might be back by December), which will likely prompt the team into giving rookie Keion White a bigger role alongside Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings.
The average age of the Patriots’ game day roster is just under 27.0 years.
Game day inactives (6): OT Calvin Anderson, WR Kayshon Boutte, QB Will Grier, LB Matthew Judon, G Cole Strange, OT Tyrone Wheatley Jr.
Practice squad (15): DB Joshuah Bledsoe, CB Breon Borders, WR/QB Malik Cunningham, OL James Ferentz, LB Joe Giles-Harris, RB Kevin Harris, CB Azizi Hearn, DE Trysten Hill, DT Manny Jones, WR T.J. Luther, LB Calvin Munson, WR Jalen Reagor, OL Kody Russey, TE Matt Sokol, OT Andrew Stueber
Injured reserve return (5): DT Daniel Ekuale, CB Christian Gonzalez, CB Jack Jones, CB Marcus Jones, WR Tyquan Thornton
Reserve/PUP (2): S Cody Davis, DE Trey Flowers
The Patriots’ reserve lists saw some changes compared to last week. The aforementioned Riley Reiff was activated from injured reserve shortly after his return to practice, whereas cornerback Christian Gonzalez was sent to IR.
Also returning to practice this week were Cody Davis and Trey Flowers, but they remain out on the PUP list.
The Patriots’ Week 5 game against the Saints will be kicked off at 1 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium.