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Running back?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Mountain_Commando, Jul 22, 2012.

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  1. Mountain_Commando

    Mountain_Commando Rookie

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    I just spent the last 2 hours watching the highlights of all 19 games from last season, as well as the highlights of our 3 SB wins (for feel good measure). What I took away from it it has prompted me to make this thread.

    First, lets get my rant out of the way. Like you all, I am pumped for the season to begin. As the Gods of football would have it, the Pats have had their last 6 seasons end with vicious d**k punches. 6. FRICKIN. YEARS. Yeah 31 teams end each season with heartache, but no one other team has had to suffer the kind of brutal endings that we've had, and that for 6 damn seasons in a row. Maybe it was karma for our early success and the arrogance that it fertilized, maybe it was the fate. All the same, redemption is the word. I don't need to preach to the choir that the 4th ring is New England's holy grail, and it's not a pipe dream but an objectively tangible, reachable, realistic goal while we have the one in a lifetime combo of Brady and Belichick.

    Now, eeping things simple, I don't think even the most pessimistic members of this board would argue against the fact the putrid defense of last season has seen a marked upgrade via the draft. On the other side of the ball the acquisitions of B Lloyd, J Gaffney, Stallworth, and the draft pick WR's is a significant upgrade what was already an elite offense. Now with the departure of Matt Light, I think we have some concerns about the O-line. I hope that will be addressed via FA to at least increase our OL depth. But overall, we're in great shape on the O.

    But, one aspect that seems lacking to me...what about our RB situation? We just lost BJGE, who, despite his many critics, was a tried and tested work horse who gave us a 1k yard season and was fumble proof. Who does that leave us with? I love Woodhead and he's a scurrying little hamster, but he's definitely not an every down running back. Ridley showed flashes of promise last season, but he is after all just a second year kid with just a few games of (non-starter) experience and an acute case of fumblitis. Vereen, lets face it has been a disappointment and we can only hope he keeps healthy next season. Even so, he doesn't hardly have the experience to be the no 1 RB. And Addai? I could probably run faster than him.

    So? Now I know that the Pats will continue with the tried and tested formula of a pass favored game, which makes perfect sense when you have a GOAT level QB. But of course that needs to be balanced with a strong running game, in fact may would argue that the lack of an elite RB has held this offense back from being truly unstoppable. So do you guys thinks the Pats are thinking about adding a veteran, stud RB via FA (considering one is available and our cap status)? Or are we just planning on relying on the personnel mentioned in the previous paragraph? Is that good enough? Thoughts?
  2. livinginthe past

    livinginthe past Rookie

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    I do happen to agree that its the performance of the offense in the post-season losses that has hurt this team the most.

    The standard they set in the regular season has gone missing at crucial points.

    Teams like the Giants with their NASCAR formations are dangerous to a team that is so reliant upon the pass - to have a consistent threat to run the ball out of running formations (not just shotgun draw plays) would help negate some of that threat.

    I think Ridley and Vareen are the potential answers at RB - I don't think we need to go the veteran start route.

    They could be a very nice lightening and thunder package that could finally get Brady making that PA pass working again.
  3. Mountain_Commando

    Mountain_Commando Rookie

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    Again, keep in mind those are two second year kids with less barely 4 games of total NFL game experience, and 0 games starting experience. Do you really think that's sufficient to carry the whole team at RB?
  4. livinginthe past

    livinginthe past Rookie

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    Young guys come into the NFL and succeed at RB all the time - I don't see why these two should be any different.

    They will need to get the blocking schemes in pas protection down, but I don't doubt their ability to run the ball at this level.
  5. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In the past 6 years this team has gone 76 and 20, and as much as we have not won a Superbowl in that time.. there are 31 other teams who have not enjoyed the success we have seen during this period.

    The reality is that we have not won a superbowl since 2005, but consider the 27 other teams who have not won in the same period...

    My guess is that you have not been a fan for a long time, perhaps a trip in the way back machine would help your perspective..

    I revel in the success of the Patriots..
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2012
  6. randomk1

    randomk1 Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    I don't see that as a problem. I liked BJGE but i'm indifferent to him leaving. Let's see what the young guys have - they will certainly provide more big play ability and more of a pass catching threat.

    Interestingly enough i looked over some stats and BJGE was averaging 4.5 per carry during our losses but only received 19 carries over those two losses and i can't even recall what the reason for that was. I ain't watching those games again.
  7. Mountain_Commando

    Mountain_Commando Rookie

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  8. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  9. borg

    borg On the Roster

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    I gotta ask....What are NASCAR formations?
  10. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Our RB situation is fine, we are a pass heavy offense.. and with our improvements in the defense this team will be good for 13-14 wins this year..

    With terms like vicious d..ck punches, one might think that you are some type of victim of football..
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2012
  11. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Your rant aside, I've been calling for more run-pass "balance" and more effective integration of the running game into the offense since 2009. The team ran the ball very effectively in 2008 (Josh McD's last season here as DC) but really went downhill in that department under BOB, with much less use of creative screens and use of the RBs to set up play action. I've documented some of that in gory detail elsewhere:

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/10/916073-pats-running-backs.html (see posts 11-12)

    I personally think the loss of BJGE is addition by subtraction. Not to take anything away from Benny, who was a solid dependable workhorse and who didn't fumble, but he was very limited in his ability and didn't really complement the passing offense well at all. Ridley and Vereen offer much more explosive playmaking ability, and much better potential to be used in the passing game - especially Vereen. I'm also optimistic that the return of Josh McDaniels as OC will mean a greater involvement of the running game and better integration of the RBs into the passing attack. And the fullback experiment also suggests an interest in being able to run more effectively, at least in key situations. So I'm guessing it is more of a priority for the current offensive coaching group than it was last year. But time will tell.
  12. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    From Reiss' quick hits today:

    Quick-hit thoughts around NFL & Pats - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston

    Ingram's not a bust, but like BJGE with the Pats he doesn't integrate well into the Saints' passing offense compared with guys like Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas (who the Saints tried to trade to the Pats in 2010, and the Pats turned them down).

    I think Vereen, Ridley and Woodhead will be a very effectively rotation. I don't have much hopes for Addai. If Denver cuts Knowshon Moreno I could see McDaniels trying to pick him up - he has Vereen's kind of versatility and skills, or at least he did as a rookie. The fullbacks will be in the mix. I think it will be an interesting group to watch during training camp and the season.
  13. patsinthesnow

    patsinthesnow PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    The three best offenses in NFL History, 2007 Patriots, 2011 Packers, 1998 Vikings. Two of them had mediocre RBs in Maroney/Starks, while the Vikings had a solid RB in Robert Smith. Even if Vereen and Ridley somehow both tank, people are forgetting Woodhead.

    NFL.2012.Super.Bowl.XLVI.Giants.vs.Patriots. - YouTube

    You could see his impact in the SB when he finally got his speed back. Woodhead may end up being the starter, and is the best back IMO for hurry up/shotgun, as the drive in the SB before the half shows. I think McDaniels will use Woodhead better too. (motioning him to WR, screens, etc.)
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  14. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ridley has done a lot more than BJGE had before he became the primary RB, and there is no doubt whatsoever he has much more raw ability.
    "Acute case of fumbilitis" was a horrific misrepresentation of Ridley and fumbling.
    I don't know how you call a player (Vereen) 'a diappointment' when his rookie year was derailed by no off-season, shortened camp, and injuries.
    If there is a single position on the football field where uncertainty but talent normally turns into no problem, it is RB. Just look around the league.
  15. TheComeback

    TheComeback Rookie

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    I have to agree. I'm a big Law Firm fan, but his production isn't irreplaceable. The biggest concern I have is how they'll replace his performance at goal line.

    Ridley showed enough last year to warrant some level of confidence. Vereen is a question mark. We have a solid scatback in Woodhead, and a veteran who's produced at a comparable level to Benny throughout his career.

    I think we'll be fine, but even if we're not, finding a decent veteran RB in free agency is pretty easy.
  16. robbomango

    robbomango Rookie

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    I Didn't know that whole SB was uploaded on youtube, ouch. I'll take your word for it tnx anyway.:cool:
  17. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady On the Roster

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    I think it breakdown like this.

    Woody has a solid role and can be counted on for a decent percentage of snaps each game. Where does the rest of the snaps come from?

    Ideally both younguns step up and fill these snaps.

    If only one does then you need to rely on Addai for some snaps or the one who does step up needs to be really good making you want use him as the feature back instead of cog in the RB comitee.

    Lastly if both younguns fail then you will need to find someone on the streets to help but your not bare as Addai and Woodhead should still be a decent duo. Depth would be important though so you would need to find something.

    Now ask yourself this what is the likelyhood both younguns bust? I think as long as one proves to be serviceable then with Woody and Addai we have a good RB group. I think this is a reasonable expectation that could be rewarded by greatness if one of the younguns can step up and live up to their hype.
  18. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Woodhead - best RB on the Patriots in 2010, dinged up in 2011, healthy now

    Ridley - Best RB on the Patriots in 2011, has a bit more wiggle than BJGE, 2 fumbles is not an acute case of fumblitis

    Vereen - Injured most of 2011, should round out the top 3 RBs, his play is gravy

    Addai - Veteran experience, although I have no idea why the Patriots signed him, unless it's about pass protection (I'd be happy to see a fullback as the RB4)

    They're running backs, and they're going to get a chance to divvy up (with Brady) 400-450 carries. It shouldn't be a problem. Nobody worried about the Patriots running game with BJGE running the ball. If none of these guys get it done, it'll just be status quo. If Ridley/Vereen can show some legitimate skills, it'll be a huge upgrade over BJGE and a nice bonus for the offense.
  19. livinginthe past

    livinginthe past Rookie

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    Maybe 'formations' is the wrong word.

    Its really a personnel grouping.

    The Giants would line up 4 DE's across the D-line in obvious passing downs to create mismatches all over the place.
  20. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well, he did have 5 runs of 20 or more yards, which was 5 more than the rest of the team combined. . . .
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