Why LB Davis fills void for final roster spot

The Patriots filled their open spot on the 53-man roster by announcing the promotion of linebacker Ja'Gared Davis from the practice squad Tuesday.

Davis (6-feet, 238 pounds) is an undrafted rookie from Southern Methodist who spent training camp with the Houston Texans and was claimed on waivers by the Patriots on Aug. 28. He has been with the Patriots since, spending all but one week of the season on the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster for one game, the Oct. 6 loss at Cincinnati.

Davis was the leading candidate to earn a promotion after the team placed linebacker Brandon Spikes on season-ending injured reserve Monday and this is where he mostly figures into plans:

Special teams considerations: Davis has been spending some extra time with special teams coach Scott O'Brien this week as that is where his primary contributions figure to come. Linebackers Jamie Collins and Dane Fletcher are core special teamers, but with them taking on added responsibilities on defense without Spikes, there is a trickle-down effect in the kicking game and their load could potentially be lessened. Davis played on the punt return unit on Oct. 6.

Depth on defense: The Patriots only had five off-the-line linebackers after placing Spikes on injured reserve -- Dont'a Hightower, Collins, Fletcher, Steve Beauharnais and Chris White. Davis adds a sixth layer.