EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- James Develin was always appreciated in New England, but now that he's on injured reserve with a neck injury, he's really appreciated.
Following Develin's injury and Jakob Johnson also being placed on IR, the Patriots used four different players as fullbacks in Monday's 33-0 win over the Jets.
To no one's surprise, tight ends Eric Tomlinson and Benjamin Watson lined up in the backfield, but along the goal-line it was linebacker Elandon Roberts and backup offensive lineman James Ferentz.
Running back Sony Michel had three rushing touchdowns and on all three he was led by a fullback -- Watson on the first, Ferentz the second and Roberts the third.
“You just never know when you’re this low on numbers,” said Ferentz. “One guy goes down, and it changes everything. So it just falls back into the old saying: the more you can do.”He added: “We didn’t have a lot of bodies. Luckily, E-Rob was able to step in there and do a good job, and then I got called up there, too. Just a benefit — right place, right time.”Roberts, who is a hard-hitting middle linebacker, seemed to enjoy his new role.
“Me on the defensive side, fullbacks are just kind of in my way, so I’m going to go through you,” Roberts said. “And when I’m at the fullback, I’m going to still go through you. However you want to have it.”With Devlin and Johnson doubtful to return, this concept could continue for the remainder of the season.