Running In the Right Direction.

The New England Patriots and their offensive passing attack is pretty well documented. Tom Brady directs an orchestra when they click into their no huddle offense. However in recent years the Patriots coaching staff has shown some attention to the running back depth chart.

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Stevan Ridley leads the group of backs. The former LSU product has really developed in his short career so far. He runs hard between the tackles and shows excellent field vision also being the only Patriots back to crack the 1000 yard mark since Cory Dillon its notable that the Patriots use a back by committee approach as in Dillons time he was pretty much the only guy. Ridley though has some rough spots he lacks speed to break to the outside and really needs to have better ball control he does tend to put the ball on the ground.

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Lagarette Blount is an interesting running back. The big guy looks to maybe carved into the back up role for team-mate Stevan Ridley. During training camps we havent heard much on Blount but when the lights went on the field against the Philadelphia Eagles last Friday he churned for over 100 yards and 2 touch downs while delivering some brutal hits with his shoulder as well if he keeps its up he will be a great player for the Patriots

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Shane Vereen seems to have finally found his nitch on the team being the teams primary 3rd down back and is their top running back who can catch passes which is wat he excelled at in college. Vereen in prior seasons fought off some injuries and picked his way up a depth chart. Showing great hands and the poise to catch passes in traffic he will do a good job when his number is called.

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Leon Washington will be the Patriots primary ball returner. The speedy back came over as a free agent from the Seahawks and looks to have fit right in that department and filled a need there. He may not see many snaps at running back.

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Brandon Bolden was looking like a steal…till he got popped for PED’s now your lucky if you get a glimpse and has not looked anything like the back prior to PED’s.Blount  has beat him out Vereen is ahead of him as well. it is a uphil battle and could likely be traded or released as a roster casualty.

The Patriots head coach will have sneaky little ways to get some use out of all these guys and with Tom Brady looking to extend his career and Bill Belichek may be looking to do the same the Patriots have developed a solid running game to support or lead the Patriots as Tom Brady and Coach Bill Belichek head into the back side of their careers.

If there was anything that we could take from the preseason game against the Eagles it was their ability to consistently pound the ball successfully and last year they were really well-balanced. The OC Josh McDaniels should know what he has in his backs and will use them all at his disposal. He will create mismatches on plays based on personnel, opponents defensive style, and game management.

Patrick Jordan– NFL Contributor – TitleTown Sports

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