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Looking At The Patriots Running Back Depth Going Into Camp

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  1. PatsFans.com Article

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    Looking At The Patriots Running Back Depth Going Into Camp
    By: Steve Balestrieri

    Don't be surprised to see the Patriots in a lot of two back sets with Ridley and Vereen especially early in the season...

  2. supafly

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    #24 Jersey

    These are the 2 biggest questions to me regarding the RB position:

    1. Can we continue to average the same (within reason) YPC as last year? If so, then we should have a very capable running game. Can the running game still move the ball effectively should a guy like Ridley go down for several games or more due to injury?

    2. Can we replicate the production of Danny Woodhead through the use of Shane Vereen, and possibly even Leon Washington at times? If so, then again..we should be in pretty good shape.
  3. NEPettyOfficer72

    NEPettyOfficer72 Rookie

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    Leon Washington can also come in and play the Woodhead role from time to time while Shane Vereen can play some more wide receiver. Leon Washington does has been very solid in the run game in the pass, and is excellent on screens and draw plays with his make-you-miss ability.
  4. Christian

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    I like our depth and what we've currently got stacked at RB right now alot. But I worry about Ridley or Vereen going down. Those two are going to be counted on heavily. I know Ridley hasn't really had anything major occur...but we're really going to need both he and Vereen. Vereen could be a serious dual threat RB for us this year. I know that's what I expect.

    I also expect Ridley to continue where he left off last year. No reason why he shouldn't. We're going to need these guys badly after losing Gronk and Hernandez. But we all know easy and often RB's get hurt. Just have to hope that doesn't happen.

    Bolden and Blount are both solid guys to have behind them though...though I'd imagine one of them to be cut before we start the season.
  5. Brady6

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    I'm hoping they keep 5 RB's.

    Ridley in the same capacity as last season handling the primary ball carrier responsibilities.

    Vereen in an expanded role this season, taking on the role that Woodhead handled last season as 3rd down RB and scat RB. I also hope to see him used in the passing game in a capacity similar to Hernandez where we move him around to isolate particular match ups.

    Blount is somewhat of an unknown for me, based on his size and skill set I'm hopeful he can take on a role similar to Sammy Morris. Which would be as a power RB and used as change of pace, along with goal line and short yardage situations. I'm also hopeful he can contribute occasionally in a FB capacity.

    Washington is a player I see here primarily for special teams and used as our KR and maybe our PR as well. I can envision them attempting to get him the ball in space on the offensive side of the ball but no more than a handful of times per game.

    Bolden is a player I view as the only RB capable of being a primary ball carrier if Ridley went down. I think he could as a 53 man roster player who is unlikely to dress unless Ridley is out for a game, or he could fits on the game day roster because of his ability to contribute as a core special teams player.

    Based on how Washington and Blount add significant value in special teams I do feel the roster could justify having all 5 on it. Just my thoughts; I'm not an expert on RB depth by any stretch of the imagination however so don't go adding them to your fantasy teams.
  6. Brady_to_Moss

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    Very deep at RB. Ridley who is becoming a stud. Boldin, vereen, washington if need be and blount. I think Ridley will surprise a lot of people this year with how good he is going to be for this team
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    #24 Jersey

    Don't want to get boring so I won't labour the point, but No mention of George Winn in this thread is disappointing.

    Anyway, RB is arguably the deepest position on the roster right now. I'm hoping that the cure for the Hernandez absence is more 2 RB sets. Vereen and Winn (sorry) could be a really interesting combo. Winn could serve as a lead blocker for Vereen, Vereen could line up out wide and come back to behind Brady or visa versa or you could have Vereen motion out wide and have Winn run the ball effectively up the gut a la BJGE. Very difficult for a DC to know what to do with those two in the backfield.
  9. Elijah

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    I think 2 of Bolden, Blount, Winn make it (with their chances also descending in that order). People think 4 RB is plenty, but Washington doesn't really count (I assume his role will be mostly special teams and will only see time if Vereen isn't as good a third down back as we though) so it's probably best to keep an additional back.
  10. supafly

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    I agree, all great thoughts. I am pulling for 5 RB's too. I think the depth with 5 is needed considering how much I expect them to run the ball this season, which is even more than last year--or at least around the same depending on how many plays we actually end up with.
  11. supafly

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    Yep. I see it the same as you in terms of not really counting L.Washington aside from maybe a handful of plays every now and then (assuming health).

    We can look forward to seeing what Winn can do in TC and preseason. That should be fun to watch.
  12. situational_awareness

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    Vereen and Ridley should be a good combo, but nobody will mistake either one for a traditional "feature back", unless BB decides to use them differently this year. The Pats truly used a RBBC last year so week to week I never knew who was going to get the yards from the RB position. Even still, they produced as a committee. Bad for fantasy football, but good for the team.
  13. Joker

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    Huh?....define "traditional feature back".....for example, a feature back should gain at least a 1000 yards?...a feature back should be what...in the top TWENTY in yards gained for the season?...define it...
  14. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 Rookie

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    I think Stevan Ridley is a top 10 RB I see him having a big year I think if Vereen or one of the other backs can do with woodhead did the running game should be at lest as good as last years
  15. situational_awareness

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    You could have Googled it.

    To answer your question, "Feature back" is a somewhat generic term to describe a running back who gets the vast majority of carries, as opposed to a running-back-by-committee (RBBC) situation. If you want to be technical about it, what most people call a "feature-back" really should be called a "bell-cow RB", but nobody really uses that term anymore.

    There are no specific numbers to define it but if you are asking me to guess what everybody else thinks...

    In the hierarchy of amount of touches:

    1) Bell-cow - gets pretty much all the carries (85% or more)
    2) Feature Back - gets most of the carries (75-85%)
    3) RBBC - two or more RBs share the carries almost evenly (one RB doesn't get more than 60% of the carries.)
  16. Nunchucks

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    There really are not feature backs in the NFL anymore. Sure, you have your Peterson, your MJD, Jackson, Foster, and perhaps Richardson. But most teams use a RBBC approach...including the Patriots. I am sure the Patriots would like to have one guy that can do it all, but it is very rare to find that guy. Ridley sure isn't that guy, he isn't much of a pass blocker or receiving threat.

    Heck, AP gets the bulk of the carries, but he is not much of a receiving threat out of the backfield or pass blocker...
  17. KontradictioN

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    No Jersey Selected

    The league, outside of a few exceptions, has become a predominantly RBBC league. On any team featuring the RBBC approach, there is one back featured more than the other backs (in this case, a featured back). For us, the featured back would be the guy that ran for over 1,000 yards last season on a team that, since 2007, has been a pass-happy offense. So I don't think it's out of the question to call Ridley a feature back.
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    when was the last time a feature back was a key to winning an SB?
  19. Gumby

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    Everyone got lost from your REAL MISTAKE here in this post by talking about RBBC vs Feature back as a coaching decision.

    No matter which guys are healthy it is unlikely that BB is going to leave 1 guy out there all 3 Downs and 90% of plays (a "Feature Back"). But that is a COACHING DECIISION and not an ATTRIBUTE of Ridley or Vereen.

    In your above post, you are talking about Ridley and Vereen as if there is a SPECIFIC SET OF PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS that define a FEATURE Back.

    So I think what Joker was asking is: what are THOSE PHYSICAL-INDIVIDUAL CHARACTERISTICS that make somebody a 'feature back' candidate?

    (if you make historical comparisons: say off-hand OJ, 'Sweetness', Corey Dillon, Cumar, I doubt there are any consistent factors other than durability you can cite)

    I am not sure I would want Pats to have a 'feature back'; but I also dont think there is necessarily any reason either of SV or SR couldnt fill that role if we wanted to go that route.

    But I'm pretty certain the guy who wins camp battle (Ridley having initial edge) will get 50-60% of the snaps. The other 40-50% will be split between 2-3 other guys - likely week-to-week health decisions as to depth position or # snaps.
  20. Nunchucks

    Nunchucks Rookie

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    The advantage of having a feature back is that you do not tip your hand on whether the offense is passing or running the ball. That and of course, the guy is good enough to gain enough yards for the defense to really respect the run, which opens up the passing game.

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