SATURDAY, 3:16pm: Lewis now appears on New England’s 53-man roster, with ESPN.com’s Field Yates tweeting the team has activated its preferred passing-down back in advance of the Seahawks-Pats Sunday-night tilt.
THURSDAY, 8:37pm: The Patriots will activate running back Dion Lewis from the physically unable to perform list, tweets Jim McBride of the Boston Globe. While that move doesn’t necessarily mean that Lewis will be ready to go this weekend, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports that Lewis is “on track” to play against the Seahawks on Sunday night.
Lewis, 26, will slot back into a New England rushing attack that ranks only 21st in DVOA despite LeGarrette Blount‘s thunderous activities on the ground. Blount leads the league with nine rushing touchdowns, but is only averaging 3.8 yards per attempt — as a team, the Patriots are 23rd in yards per carry. While James White has excelled as the club’s passing down back, New England hasn’t gotten much from the rest of its RB corps, a unit that includes special teams-first players such as D.J. Foster and Brandon Bolden.
Lewis will likely eat more into White’s role than Blount’s — in seven games last season, Lewis saw 50 targets from Tom Brady, and hauled in 36 of them for 388 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, Lewis managed only 49 attempts, but averaged nearly five yards per carry. He’s signed through the 2017 campaign after agreeing to a multi-year extension last October.
On the mend from a torn ACL, Lewis was forced to miss at least the first six games of the season after landing on the PUP list. He’ll need to be added to the roster by 3pm CT Saturday in order to play the following day. The Patriots have already cleared a roster spot by waiving fellow RB Tyler Gaffney earlier today.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.