Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss on the role of Jonas Gray in Week 12 and down the stretch: The Patriots have been high on Gray since training camp and Bill Belichick acknowledged that it wasn’t an easy decision to release him at the final roster cut down to 53 players in hopes of putting him on the practice squad. This is somewhat similar to the 2008 season when the Patriots had BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the practice squad initially before grooming him for a bigger role. At 230 pounds, Gray is a downhill runner who looks for contact. The one thing I’d say this week is that the Patriots, who pride themselves on being a game-plan type offense that changes significantly on a week-to-week basis to exploit the perceived weaknesses of the opponent, might not run it much because the Lions have been so good in that area (No. 1 in the NFL, 68.8 yards average per game, 3.0 average per rush).
The Lions have yielded a league-low 3.0 YPC this season, so the Patriots may instead feature a pass-happy attack if they can't get things going early with Gray between the tackles.