FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots fans were jazzed to see the return of running back Dion Lewis on Sunday night after he was activated off the physically unable to perform list Saturday. Then the Patriots’ Week 10 inactives came out, and Lewis was one of seven players on the list who would not suit up against the Seattle Seahawks.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Monday that injury was not a factor in deactivating Lewis.
“He wouldn’t have been on the injury report,” Belichick said. “He wasn’t activated until Saturday, but he wouldn’t have been on the injury report.”
So why didn’t Lewis play? Belichick (kind of) explained.
“We have to inactivate seven players, so we can always talk about the ones who weren’t active,” Belichick said. “Could they have been active? We’ve had a lot of healthy guys. We would have been able to activate a lot of them. Those seven, we probably would have played most of them.
“So, every week we have to take the players we feel are the best for that game. That takes everything into consideration, which is a very long list of things to consider. In the end, we take the 46 players we feel will give us the best chance for that game on that day. Guys that are injured, they can’t play. That’s not a conversation, so they’re obviously on the list. The other players, that’s the discussion. …
“Players that haven’t played for a year, they haven’t played for a year.”
The Patriots had four running backs active Sunday night: LeGarrette Blount, James White, Brandon Bolden and fullback James Develin. Blount played 37 snaps and carried the ball 21 times for 69 yards with three touchdowns. White had 29 snaps and carried the ball twice for 5 yards while adding four catches for 32 yards. Bolden finished third on the team with 17 special teams snaps but didn’t play on offense.
The Patriots would have been forced to carry fewer players at a different position in order to activate a fifth running back. Without any players ruled out because of injury, it seems Belichick didn’t feel Lewis was worth activating coming off a year of rehab to dwindle numbers at a different position.
Lewis might have helped the Patriots’ offense, but Blount and White both played well. It seems, for now, Lewis is stuck behind both running backs on the Patriots’ depth chart and without Bolden’s special teams ability.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images