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NEW ARTICLE: MORSE: Part 3 of the Patriots Position by Position Analysis – Running Back

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TheRainMaker

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Harris- “He had good speed but lacks that 2nd level burst.”

It’s pretty rare to see RB’s in the NFL with that breakaway burst. I love his decisiveness and the way he explodes through the hole or takes it outside. He’s a no nonsense back.

Sony Michel- “The 2018 1st round selection #31 must be characterized as a bust.”

For what most of us envisioned he’d be drafted for, yes. However, he made his opportunities count in 2018. 2019 exposed him as a guy who can’t create, but can only be effective by what is done in front of him. 2020, saw a healthier supporting cast and he was more effective in his limited time. He has a lot of motivation to play well this year for his next contract elsewhere.

Rhamondre Stevenson - “Usually, the Patriots will redshirt their running backs during their initial season.”

If this is the case, Michel makes the team.

White - “He will be in a fight for a roster spot with JJ Taylor and Sony Michel. Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal does not have White making the team and has him being traded.”

Interesting that is mentioned, as I am in the minority that wants White’s role to at least be reduced. In fact, I didn’t want him to be re-signed. The problem the team had in 2019 was too many touches where going to guys who can’t provide big chunk plays and he was one of them. He’s fine when you need some cheap yards on 3rd down, but the more he’s used, the less effective the offense is.

Brandon Bolden - it would be a shame if he makes the team over Michel.
 

Mark Morse

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Harris- “He had good speed but lacks that 2nd level burst.”

It’s pretty rare to see RB’s in the NFL with that breakaway burst. I love his decisiveness and the way he explodes through the hole or takes it outside. He’s a no nonsense back.

Sony Michel- “The 2018 1st round selection #31 must be characterized as a bust.”

For what most of us envisioned he’d be drafted for, yes. However, he made his opportunities count in 2018. 2019 exposed him as a guy who can’t create, but can only be effective by what is done in front of him. 2020, saw a healthier supporting cast and he was more effective in his limited time. He has a lot of motivation to play well this year for his next contract elsewhere.

Rhamondre Stevenson - “Usually, the Patriots will redshirt their running backs during their initial season.”

If this is the case, Michel makes the team.

White - “He will be in a fight for a roster spot with JJ Taylor and Sony Michel. Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal does not have White making the team and has him being traded.”

Interesting that is mentioned, as I am in the minority that wants White’s role to at least be reduced. In fact, I didn’t want him to be re-signed. The problem the team had in 2019 was too many touches where going to guys who can’t provide big chunk plays and he was one of them. He’s fine when you need some cheap yards on 3rd down, but the more he’s used, the less effective the offense is.

Brandon Bolden - it would be a shame if he makes the team over Michel.
Overall you have good responses. On Brandon Bolden, you know how BB loves those special teams players and Michel doesn't play any special teams. As far as White's role or any RBs receiving role will be reduced because of the 2 TE alignment.
 

mgteich

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Overall you have good responses. On Brandon Bolden, you know how BB loves those special teams players and Michel doesn't play any special teams. As far as White's role or any RBs receiving role will be reduced because of the 2 TE alignment.
Yup. on 3rd and middle or long, we'll stop bringing in White, and concentrate on using 2 TE's as our targets. White has a role. Perhaps his role might be reduced by the increased use of Harris as a protector and receiver.

But, for me, having 2 real TE's won't affect the use of White much.
 

TheRainMaker

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Overall you have good responses. On Brandon Bolden, you know how BB loves those special teams players and Michel doesn't play any special teams. As far as White's role or any RBs receiving role will be reduced because of the 2 TE alignment.
The wildcard is Stevenson. If he makes some noise in training camp, that’s when I could see Bill making calls for Michel.

I think White will still see the field as an outlet on 3rd downs if nothing is available downfield unless Harris or anyone else pushes for touches.
 

mgteich

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The wildcard is Stevenson. If he makes some noise in training camp, that’s when I could see Bill making calls for Michel.

I think White will still see the field as an outlet on 3rd downs if nothing is available downfield unless Harris or anyone else pushes for touches.
If both Stephenson AND Taylor look like they deserve lot of reps, the it makes sense to think of moving Michel. However, if only one looks great, that isn't enough, at least for me.

In your scenario, I would have one of Stephenson or Michel inactive, as our backup in case of injury. I don't expect to see Bolden playing RB except in garbage time.
1 and 2 Harris, Stephenson/Michel
3rd down White
 

patsfanfromoversea

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I think we need to keep White. Whoever plays QB will welcome another third down mismatch option and it makes the offense less predictable with White on the field esp. on third and short. He only has a 1 year contract I believe and isn't expensive. The other RB's haven't shown enough pass catching threat to me so far.
 

Mark Morse

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The wildcard is Stevenson. If he makes some noise in training camp, that’s when I could see Bill making calls for Michel.

I think White will still see the field as an outlet on 3rd downs if nothing is available downfield unless Harris or anyone else pushes for touches.
Yup. on 3rd and middle or long, we'll stop bringing in White, and concentrate on using 2 TE's as our targets. White has a role. Perhaps his role might be reduced by the increased use of Harris as a protector and receiver.

But, for me, having 2 real TE's won't affect the use of White much.
The two TE's with the big contracts are going to siphon off receptions from White and the receivers. I like White and his pass blocking is superb for a 3rd down back.
 

50-yard-line

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Sony Michel - 38 games averaging 60.3 ypg BUST
Damian Harris - 12 game averaging 58'5 ypg STUD

And Michel's include playing behind that atrocious 2019 OL.
And Michel had a better YPC by almost .7 yards than Harris last year
And Michel is a much better pass protector.
And Michel didn't get a redshirt year to learn the game speed and such, was thrown in as a rookie and is a big reason they lifted the trophy in 2018.

Yeah, nothing ridiculous about these characterizations at all.

smh.
 

One-If-By-Sea

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I think we need to keep White. Whoever plays QB will welcome another third down mismatch option and it makes the offense less predictable with White on the field esp. on third and short. He only has a 1 year contract I believe and isn't expensive. The other RB's haven't shown enough pass catching threat to me so far.

I agree about keeping White, but since he is on a 1 year deal I think this might be his last year.

JJ Taylor catches well and maybe Stephenson catches passes next year.
 

patsfanfromoversea

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I agree about keeping White, but since he is on a 1 year deal I think this might be his last year.

JJ Taylor catches well and maybe Stephenson catches passes next year.
I agree. If they develop this year and learn from white they could fill in this role. I like taylor, hope we see him getting some snaps as well as a power back like Stevenson. I think it is a really good weapon for third downs if you have a power back who is able to run routes and has good hands.
 

Mark Morse

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Sony Michel - 38 games averaging 60.3 ypg BUST
Damian Harris - 12 game averaging 58'5 ypg STUD

And Michel's include playing behind that atrocious 2019 OL.
And Michel had a better YPC by almost .7 yards than Harris last year
And Michel is a much better pass protector.
And Michel didn't get a redshirt year to learn the game speed and such, was thrown in as a rookie and is a big reason they lifted the trophy in 2018.

Yeah, nothing ridiculous about these characterizations at all.

smh.
When a poster makes solid points as you do, I go back and check. Some of your points are correct which surprised the heck out of me. Michel's 3.7 YPC in 2019 can be attributed to the poor O Line play. However, Harris received 72 fewer carries in his 1st year as a full-time running back than Michel did. If he received those extra carries he would have had 1052 yards and 87.6 Yards per game. Harris played one less game than Michel in his 1st year. During the playoff run in 2018, culminating in the 13-3 victory in Super Bowl LIII, Michel was tremendous. He ran for 94 yards, and a TD on 18 carries in the Super Bowl. So characterizing Michel as a bust is unfair.
 

50-yard-line

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When a poster makes solid points as you do, I go back and check. Some of your points are correct which surprised the heck out of me. Michel's 3.7 YPC in 2019 can be attributed to the poor O Line play. However, Harris received 72 fewer carries in his 1st year as a full-time running back than Michel did. If he received those extra carries he would have had 1052 yards and 87.6 Yards per game. Harris played one less game than Michel in his 1st year. During the playoff run in 2018, culminating in the 13-3 victory in Super Bowl LIII, Michel was tremendous. He ran for 94 yards, and a TD on 18 carries in the Super Bowl. So characterizing Michel as a bust is unfair.
If you're going to extrapolate like that, do Michel last year. He had .7 more YPC than Harris.

The narratives that take shape around some players is simply absurd.
 

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