The Patriots are making their final preparations for Sunday's matchup vs. the Chiefs by elevating one player from the practice squad on Saturday.
With lead-back Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle) ruled out, the Patriots have elevated RB Kevin Harris from the practice squad for the second straight game. Despite being active in last week's win over the Steelers, the second-year running back didn't play a single snap in the win. However, recent roster movement by the Patriots could change that on Sunday.
Following a shaky performance in Pittsburgh, the Patriots waived veteran Ty Montgomery to make room on the 53-man roster for recently claimed linebacker Christian Elliss. Montgomery played six snaps on offense and was a core special-teamer, but was responsible for a blocked punt by the Steelers and dropped a pass. Montgomery's release marked the end of a two-year experiment with the wide receiver/running back, who had flashes during camp practices, but it never translated to games due to injury and ineffective play.
Last week, the Patriots rode the hot hand with veteran running back Ezekiel Elliott playing 52 of a possible 57 offensive snaps in the win. Elliott generated a season-high 140 scrimmage yards as a highly effective receiver, catching seven of his eight targets for 72 yards and a touchdown. The veteran produced +24 yards after the catch over expected, his most in a game since 2017 (via NextGen Stats).
Although the Patriots will feature Elliott again this week, they'll need to replace Montgomery's offensive snaps. New England also has fourth-year running back JaMycal Hasty on its active roster, but Hasty has been inactive for every game since being claimed by the team on November 13. With the Pats elevating Harris, an early-down power back, Hasty has more experience in a Montgomery-like role, so don't rule out the former Jags and 49ers running back. Hasty has also played a role on special teams in the past, including returning kickoffs.
Based on their skill sets, Hasty is more of a one-for-one swap for Montgomery than Harris. Instead, the second-year back could be injury insurance if Elliott can't take on the lion's share of the workload as he did against Pittsburgh by playing 91% of the offensive snaps. Harris proved to be a capable between-the-tackles back in a small sample size as a rookie, producing seven forced missed tackles on 18 carries with 44 yards after contact in his first season.
New England solidified its running back depth with its lone practice squad elevation of the week, which bodes well for now eight questionable players. The Patriots added TE Pharaoh Brown to the injury report with a questionable designation due to a foot injury. On Friday, the Patriots listed DL Christian Barmore (shoulder/illness), LB Ja'Whaun Bentley (knee), OT Trent Brown (ankle/hand/illness), WR DeVante Parker (knee), ST Matthew Slater (groin), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (ankle), and WR Tyquan Thornton (hamstring) as questionable. There are never any guarantees with injuries, but hopefully, the Pats will have most of those players available.
The Patriots host the defending champion Chiefs at Gillette Stadium with kickoff at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.