The Patriots have made their final adjustments to the active roster ahead of Sunday's divisional matchup against the Bills at Gillette Stadium.
On Saturday, the Patriots announced they've activated CB Jack Jones from injured reserve and veteran special teamer Cody Davis from the physically unable to perform list. The team already had one open roster spot after releasing rookie DB Ameer Speed earlier this week, creating a second roster spot by placing OL Riley Reiff (knee) on injured reserve. New England also elevated WR Jalen Reagor and DT Trysten Hill from the practice squad for Sunday's game vs. the Bills.
Starting with the two activations on defense, Jones is on target to make his season debut after spending the first six weeks on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury. Jones was placed on in-season injured reserve days before the team opened the season against the Eagles in September. The injury coincidentally coincided with Jones's legal charges being dropped, with head coach Bill Belichick initially saying Jones would be available before the injury occurred during practice later in the week before facing Philly.
The Patriots are down first-rounder Christian Gonzalez (shoulder), while veteran CB Jonathan Jones is questionable with a knee injury for Sunday's game. The younger Jones could give a boost to a banged-up Pats secondary. In the spring, Jones was a standout performer with multiple interceptions in practice, but his legal troubles seemed to derail his training camp and preseason.
The 2022 fourth-rounder played 53.5% of the defensive snaps as a rookie, the majority at outside corner. Jones allowed a 50% completion rate into his coverage with a 63.1 passer rating, two interceptions, and four pass breakups. Although the film shows some coverage inconsistencies, the Patriots have a league-low three takeaways through six games, and Jones's ball-hawking ability could help this defense make more big plays.
As for Davis, the veteran core special teamer suffered a season-ending knee injury last October in Cleveland. Until then, Davis played 71.6% of the special teams snaps as a contributor on five special teams units. This season, the Pats rank dead-last in special teams DVOA, an area in which the team invested significant resources in the offseason. The Patriots have to improve in the kicking game, and Davis is one of their best, having an important communication role and making five special teams tackles in 2022.
Moving on to the practice squad elevations, the Patriots elevated run-stuffer Trysten Hill this week instead of DL Jeremiah Pharms, who has been active the last three games. With Pharms out of standard elevations, the Pats would've risked losing Pharms on waivers had they elevated him again. Hill has a similar skillset with 11 run stuffs while with the Cardinals and Cowboys last season. As for Reagor, the speedy wideout played 14 snaps in the loss to the Raiders last week, giving the Pats some receiver depth, with JuJu Smith-Schuster and Demario Douglas listed as questionable with concussions on the final injury report.
After starting the clock for him to return from the PUP list, the Patriots have until Oct. 25 to active veteran DL Trey Flowers, or he'll miss the remainder of the season. New England also didn't elevate OT Conor McDermott after the veteran tackle signed with the practice squad this week. With Reiff now out for at least the next four games, the Patriots offensive line will likely look the same as last week: LT Trent Brown, LG Atonio Mafi, C David Andrews, RG Sidy Sow/Mike Onwenu, RT Vederian Lowe.
The Patriots have now used three of their eight designated to return from injured reserve spots. Technically, after sitting out the mandatory four games, Reiff could be designated to return a second time. However, that would count as another IR-return for the veteran.
Looking to snap a three-game losing streak, the Patriots will have to do so against a more talented Bills team that has won four consecutive games over Belichick's squad. This is a tall task for a Pats team that is an eight-point home underdog.
The Patriots will host the Bills at Gillette Stadium with kickoff at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
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