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Stevan Ridley sends message to Patriots fans as he starts rehab 10.21.14 at 5:54 pm ET
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Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, who suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month in a win over the Bills, sent out an Instagram message Tuesday afternoon to New England fans as he begins his rehab.

Understand a setback in any aspect of life is only a true test of faith. While doing the thing I love the most, at a pivotal point in my career, I've run across another situation where my faith is being tested. And by tested I mean the same God that brought me to this pivotal point, is making sure I still know why and where my blessings are coming from. So rather than sit around and try to understand this injury, I will use that time to reflect and appreciate the crazy amount of love that I have experienced in the past couple weeks. I will then take all this love and use it as fuel to get back to the plan God has for me. I truly love and thank my family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches, my fans, and all of Patriot Nation for all the love and support. #longliveKiDRiD

A photo posted by KiD-RiD (@stevanridley) on

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Bill Belichick on Jonas Gray: ‘This is an opportunity for him’ 10.17.14 at 10:46 am ET
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Jonas Gray

Jonas Gray

In wake of running back Stevan Ridley being lost for the season, the Patriots needed to add depth at the running back position.

Prior to Thursday’s game, the Patriots signed Jonas Gray off the practice squad and he was active for the game over rookie running back James White — who had been on the 53-man roster since training camp broke but only has appeared in one game.

“I think Jonas has been solid for us all the way through preseason,” Bill Belichick said on a conference call Friday. “He’€™s done a good job in practice. He got an opportunity last night — not a lot of opportunities, but he had some blitz pickup opportunities, had a few carries. He works hard, he’€™s a tough kid. [He'€™s a] bigger back obviously, more in the [Stevan] Ridley size range. He played for us in the kicking game as well. [We'€™ll] keep going with that. This is an opportunity for him. Unfortunate the way it came out, but he’€™s worked hard. He deserves it. We’€™ll see what he can do with it.”

Thursday was Gray’s first ever NFL game and he finished with 12 yards on three carries.

By our count Gray played only 11 snaps, but that was second among running backs as Shane Vereen played 47 and Brandon Bolden had just one. Moving forward it seems likely Belichick will ride the hot hand each week — based on performance, as well as game planning against their opponent.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Jonas Gray, Stevan Ridley,
Setting the scene: Patriots take on Jets at rain-soaked Gillette 10.16.14 at 5:26 pm ET
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Heavy rain is in the forecast as the Patriots look to improve to 7-0 on Thursday night under Tom Brady. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Heavy rain is in the forecast as the Patriots look to improve to 7-0 on Thursday night under Tom Brady. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — For the second straight year, the Patriots will play the Jets at Gillette Stadium on a rainy Thursday night. Steady rain with a chance of thunderstorms is in the forecast for the entirety of the game. But temperatures will be very mild, with a kickoff temperature of 64 degrees expected for the 8:25 p.m. start. Temperatures are expected to remain above 60 throughout the night.

A 7 MPH breeze out of the southeast is also in the forecast throughout the game.

In 2013, the Patriots held their home opener against the Jets on Sept. 12 and squeezed out a 13-10 win as the driving rain pelted players, coaches and fans.

The Patriots have won their last five regular season games against the Jets at Gillette Stadium, not including the 28-21 loss to New York in the 2010 playoffs. Overall, the Patriots have won 20 of the last 27 meetings between the two AFC East arch-rivals.

The Patriots will be playing the first game since losing starting linebacker Jerod Mayo and starting tailback Stevan Ridley to season-ending knee injuries. Both were placed on injured reserve. Taking their place are running back Jonas Gray and offensive lineman Chris Barker, who have been activated off the practice squad and are eligible to dress for the game.

Tom Brady enters the game with a perfect 6-0 record in Thursday night games. Bill Belichick is 7-2, with his last loss coming with Matt Cassel at the helm of a 34-31 overtime loss to the Jets on Nov. 13, 2008. Belichick’s only other Thursday loss was the 34-9 Thanksgiving blowout at the hands of the Detroit Lions in his first season in New England in 2000.

The game will also feature the Patriots paying tribute to Ty Law, the cornerback who was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame on Aug. 1. The halftime ceremony will be similar to the ones that former Patriots Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown have enjoyed past primetime games.

The national anthem will be performed by Joey McIntyre of “New Kids on the Block” fame. The game is on the NFL Network as well as CBS nationally. McIntyre stars in the new CBS show, “The McCarthys.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Joey McIntyre, New England Patriots
Patriots promote RB Jonas Gray, OL Chris Barker, place Stevan Ridley, Jerod Mayo on IR at 4:32 pm ET
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Jonas Gray

Jonas Gray

FOXBORO — In a move that was expected, practice squad running back Jonas Gray has been promoted to fill the spot on injured running back Stevan Ridley for tonight’s game against the Jets.

Gray impressed the Patriots in training camp and the preseason with his tough physical running style. The second-year back out of Notre Dame played in all four preseason games this year, totaling 37 carries for 142 yards and a 3.8 yard per carry average.

The other injured Patriot from Sunday who is lost for the season, Jerod Mayo, will be replaced by offensive lineman Chris Barker. This move was made with the uncertainty with regard to center Bryan Stork and left guard Dan Connolly. Stork missed the last game in Buffalo with a head injury after leaving in the first half against the Bengals on Oct. 5. Connolly left in the first half last Sunday against the Bills, also with a head injury.

Both Ridley and Mayo were placed on season-ending injured reserve before the 4 p.m. deadline to have Gray and Barker activated. The moves were first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

 

Read More: Bryan Stork, Chris Barker, Dan Connolly, Jerod Mayo
Patriots running backs prepared to fill void left in wake of Stevan Ridley’s season-ending injury 10.15.14 at 7:00 am ET
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FOXBORO — With Stevan Ridley reportedly lost for the year with a torn ACL and MCL, the Patriots have their work cut out for them to make up for his loss.

Of the Patriots’€™ 660 yards rushing this season, Ridley has accounted for 52 percent of them — 340 yards.

There is no question Shane Vereen will be a player who will likely step up with the loss of Ridley, but his style is more catching passes out of the backfield and only run on draw plays — not be a No. 1 back. Vereen hasn’€™t had a game this season with more than nine carries, but does have 18 catches for 114 yards.

New England will likely use all of their backs and ride the hot hand each week to make up for the loss of the fourth-year running back. Here is a look at the three other players and how they now view their roles:

Brandon Bolden

Bolden has the most experience of the three as he has 126 career rushing attempts for 570 yards with five touchdowns, now in his third season in the league. While Bolden said he hasn’€™t been notified of a No. 1 back role, he feels he could be one if given the opportunity.

“€œAnybody in the league thinks that, but no, as of now I am here to do whatever the team asks me to do,”€ said Bolden.

Bolden has played a significant role on special teams this season — securing his spot on the game roster each week — but now, because of his experience, he may soon be playing a significant role in the running game rather than on special teams.

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Read More: Brandon Bolden, James White, Jonas Gray, Stevan Ridley
Bill Belichick and Patriots ‘haven’t decided yet’ how to replace Jerod Mayo, Stevan Ridley 10.14.14 at 3:57 pm ET
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Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — In a compressed week, Wednesday becomes Saturday. And with a game Thursday night against their AFC East rivals from New York, the Patriots could announce roster moves to fill the void created by injuries to Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley, both of whom are expected to miss the rest of the season with lower leg injuries.

That is, of course, if the Patriots decide they need to put both on season-ending injured reserve to create roster space for a move like running back Jonas Gray from the practice squad. Belichick acknowledged he’s spoken with player personnel director Nick Caserio about their roster options.

“I think that’€™s something that we’€™re just going to have to evaluate here in the next day or two,” Belichick said Tuesday. “I’€™ve talked with Nick Caserio and our coaching staff and Nick’€™s staff and we’€™ll just have to try to figure it all out here. It’€™s a real short week. So, we’€™ll just have to take all those things into consideration and try to figure out what we’€™re going to do ‘€“ if we would make one and who it would be and so forth. We haven’€™t decided that yet. We’€™ll see how it goes here.”

While Deontae Skinner figures to move up on depth chart and get more playing time to help with the loss of Mayo, the running back situation could be different. Brandon Bolden figures to get more carries but there is the chance for someone like Jonas Gray to be promoted from the practice squad. If that’s the case, then the Patriots need to make the move by Wednesday.

“We tell the practice squad, all those players every week, that they’€™re one sprained ankle or one day away from being active,” Belichick said. “We’€™ve made those moves as late as the day before the game ‘€“ Saturdays on a Sunday game and things like that. Those players prepare every week to be ready to play both on offense or defense and in the kicking game. As you know, we’€™ve done that before. That’€™s the same for them every week.

“There’€™s no difference for them this week or from any other week. They’€™re on the roster, on the practice squad, they’€™re potentially on the roster for the game. So, they prepare for the game as if they are on the roster. If that happens, it happens. If it doesn’€™t, then we go to next week.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Calvin Pryor, Deontae Skinner, Jerod Mayo
Rodney Harrison on MFB: ‘Geno Smith, he stinks, Michael Vick doesn’t want to play’ at 12:36 pm ET
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NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Patriots’ injury issues and the upcoming game against the Jets. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Harrison said he expects Thursday’s game will be a tough one despite the Jets coming in with a 1-5 record and struggling badly on offense.

“I think it will be competitive,” Harrison said. “The Jets, they have such a hatred for the Patriots. Rex Ryan, he’s had success against Tom Brady, he knows what to expect. And I think he will have this team ready. And this team, they’re 1-5, they’re not very good. Geno Smith, he stinks, Michael Vick doesn’t want to play, they haven’t practiced well. This team has lost a lot of players, young guys in the secondary. Tom can really eat up this defense.

“But just knowing Rex, and just knowing how much he dislikes the Patriots, I think this game will be a lot more competitive than what people think.”

Added Harrison of the Jets: “They’re going to have to win on defense, because they’re offense is nothing.”

Smith, the second-year quarterback, has struggled on the field and made some questionable comments off it, which leads Harrison to question his approach.

“When they talked about drafting him, I never viewed him as a top first- or second-round pick. I thought maybe he was a guy that could probably go between Rounds 3 and 5. I just wasn’t really impressed with him,” Harrison said.

“Sometimes when you’re a young quarterback and you’re struggling, sometimes it’s best just to be quiet and not say too much in the media, just come off as a very humble guy, just trying to learn the system. But he continues to talk, he continues to put his foot in his mouth.

“What he needs to do is stop turning the ball over, bottom line. Every game this year he’s turned the ball over, and they just don’t have a chance if he continues to turn the ball over.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Geno Smith, Jerod Mayo, Michael Vick
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