New England Patriots running back Jonas Gray gashed the Indianapolis Colts defense for 201 yards and four touchdowns last season, bursting onto the scene in spectacular fashion. To put it nicely, his numbers then fell off a cliff as his playing time was decimated.
With an injury holding out LeGarrette Blount from Thursday's preseason opener, Gray once again showed potential at running back for the Patriots. And it's thanks to slimming down and cutting down on the slacks.
"It makes you a little bit fast. It makes you a little bit quicker," Gray said via the Providence Journal. "Those three pounds with my body type definitely helped. It was being consistent and always being healthy and cheating a whole lot less. All my snacks. Sugar. I’ve got a little bit of a sweet tooth so I had to cut that out. I don’t miss it. Not when I’m able to run like that."
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Losing three pounds doesn't seem like much, but when it allows a running back to scamper for a 55-yard touchdown run, it makes all the difference in the world. Gray had a strong preseason opener, rushing for 74 yards on seven carries, including the aforementioned 55-yard run.
"In terms of playing, what the coaches stressed to me, being able to beat guys in the open field," Gray said. "Taking those 10-yard runs make them 20 yard runs. Making that first guy miss. So that’s something I’m focusing on still."
Through one preseason game, it appears as if Gray has moved ahead of James White and Travaris Cadet as the No. 2 running back behind Blount. Gray will look to build on the strong performance next time out on the road against the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 22.