Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon were taken consecutively in 2013. (NFL Game Rewind)
There may no longer be one dominant pipeline for Bill Belichick. But there are still several college streams running down into the Foxborough ravine.
The New England Patriots have collected players from an assortment of schools over the years, whether it be first-year pros or 10-year veterans, whether it be via free agency, trade, or the draft. And admittedly, the strength of some connections in the collection aren’t as strong as they once were.
Some of Belichick’s ties have dispersed in different directions, with the likes of Greg Schiano, Urban Meyer and Randy Edsall no longer at the forefront of the programs the Patriots head coach once picked from. Yet other waters have appeared over the years.
And with the Patriots’ pool currently standing 75 deep, here is a look through the most prominent products featured in its depths.
LeGarrette Blount scored four TDs against the Colts last January. (NFL Game Rewind)
Hit the ground running.
That has been the offensive approach for the New England Patriots over the last two meetings with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Patriots rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns against the Colts in Week 11, on the heels of rushing for 234 yards and six touchdowns in the divisional round last January. A total of 100 carries and two victories were tallied in the process, while Brady tallied 55 passes.
Brandon Bolden’s 17-yard run helped the Patriots outlast the Jets on Sunday afternoon. (NFL Game Rewind)
There was no LeGarrette Blount in the backfield, no Julian Edelman out wide, no Dan Connolly on the line, and no Kyle Arrington in the secondary to face the New York Jets. The New England Patriots had to look elsewhere to replace the production of those four key contributors in Sunday’s 17-16 win at MetLife Stadium.
Here are some quick-hits as to how the depth fared. Continue reading
Jonas Gray stepped back into the offensive huddle for 20 plays Sunday. (NFL Game Rewind)
Four different New England Patriots combined for 21 rushing yards in the first half of Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium. Jonas Gray was not one of them.
The practice-squad promotion, a month removed from a 37-carry, 201-yard, four-touchdown performance, watched through his facemask from the sideline and only left it to cover kickoffs. One quarter passed, then another as the former Miami Dolphins running back made his first contribution, tackling current Dolphins returner Jarvis Landry after a gain of 26.
Yet as the Patriots’ offense stepped on to the field for the third quarter of what was a 14-13 game, Gray followed. He followed to make a different kind of contribution, after having rushed for 13 yards on three carries over the New England’s last three games.
Soon, the 5-foot-10, 225-pound back would follow his blocks to lead the team in rushing.
Jonas Gray did not enter the game for the Patriots on Sunday, just one week after rushing for 201 yards and four touchdowns. (NFL Game Rewind)
Fresh off Sunday’s 34-9 win over the Detroit Lions, Tom Brady joined WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show for his weekly appearance on Monday morning. The New England Patriots quarterback discussed the likes of cornerback Darrelle Revis, retired receiver Randy Moss, current New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., as well as the upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers.
But he also discussed Patriots running back Jonas Gray, who was sent home from Friday’s practice for arriving late, and was not sent onto the field by head coach Bill Belichick during Sunday’s game versus Detroit. Continue reading
Jonas Gray ran his way into a role in the Patriots’ backfield Sunday. (NFL Game Rewind)
Jonas Gray entered Sunday night’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium with 32 regular-season carries to his name. He left it with 37 more.
As the New England Patriots powered through the Indianapolis Colts, 42-20, Gray powered through the gaps graded by the offensive line in front of him. The 2012 undrafted free agent ran where he was asked to. He fell forward when he needed to.
In the process, the 5-foot-10, 225-pound tailback, who started only five college games before ACL, MCL and LCL tears ended his Notre Dame Career, did something few could have ever expected him to. He did something few have ever done.
Gray rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns, becoming the third player in league history to rush for his first four NFL scores in one game and the first to do so since 1921. He became the third player in Patriots history to cross the 200-yard rushing mark and the first to cross the goal line for four rushing touchdowns in one regular-season game.
And in that one game, he became an integral part of the Patriots’ backfield.