Breaking Down the Patriots Running Back Position
Photo Credit: The Boston Globe
The New England Patriots have such a talented offense this year that it actually causes an issue.
Who’s going to touch the ball at running back? The defending, or reigning (as Bill Belichick wants them to be called) Super Bowl champions have tail backs that can do almost everything their counterparts can.
Who get’s to go onto the field for the Patriots? Well the answer lies in the littlest of details.
Your bell cow running back will be the guy who led the NFL in yards per carry Mike Gillislee. The first running play from scrimmage will most likely be a run up the middle to the bigger man of the bunch who will finally get his chance as a starting running back.
He may be similar in style to former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount but Gillislee claims he’s just there to do what his job.
“Each and every day, my job is to come here and compete and work hard,” Gillislee said. “That’s what I want to do. Whenever my number is called, I’m going to make the best of the opportunity.”
With him are the two scat backs James White and Dion Lewis who are arguably the part of the elite receiving back group. Where they fit is hard to see, but White claims told the Boston Herald that with the trust he has built with his quarterback, he’s ready when his name is called.
“We work at it all season long, from practice to staying after practice to doing individual work after practice,” White said. “We build that trust, starting from training camp to around this point. It’s not like it just happened in the Super Bowl or whatnot. We’ve been working on it all year, and when your number’s called, you’ve just got to answer it.”
But we’re not done yet as we still have Rex Burkhead who clawed his onto the Patriots roster after seemingly being buried on the depth chart.
He took the snaps with the first team offense in the all important third preseason game showing poise and being one of the brightest spots for the team that night.
While it seems Gillislee will get the first touches as well as White and Lewis getting reps as passing backs, Burkhead is not counting himself as the odd man out in the rotation and claims that every piece of the puzzle running back group including him, need to be doing their part for the team to succeed.
“We have a lot of versatility, that’s for sure,” Burkhead said. “The key is putting it together and making sure we are all on the same page. Because if we are not, then talent means nothing. But we definitely have it, and as long as we stick together and try not to be selfish about things, then the sky is the limit.”
It’s an exciting bunch this year on offense and one should be just as excited to see what each of these backs can bring in this committee backfield.