With The Law Firm, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, signing on Wednesday, that accounts for six running backs for the New England Patriots. I wasn’t a math major but six running backs is almost as many child support payments Antonio Cromartie has to make each month. The question is, who’s in and who’s out?
The team [Patriots] projects to keep four or five of them. -ESPN.com/boston
Joining Mr. Ellis, is none other than the cult hero himself, Danny Woodhead. Following Woodhead are the crafty veterans, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk. The new kids on the block feature the rookie RB’s for the Patriots, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley.
Safe bet:One would think that is safe to say is that BenJarvus will be the feature back this season. He eclipsed 1,000 yards last season, impressive for a team that doesn’t classify themselves as run-oriented. BJGE has a nose for the goal-line and added 13 touchdowns to his career season. Then there is Danny Woodhead, the little big man. He’s about 5′ 4″ standing on a stool. Woody, as I call him, became a Patriot favorite last season, always coming up with positive yardage in big spots. He can catch out of the backfield, run through guys, and defies the laws of inertia . Dannyboy has miles of heart and I’m sure he will see a lot of the field this season.
These two players make a strong case for staying with the team. Kevin Faulk is Mr. 3rd down, even off of a terrible injury that ended his season early. He knows how to fall forward and can catch the ball out of the backfield with textbook form. As mentioned, Faulk got hurt last season, but the Pats know how reliable this guy is and should use him as often as possible… I mean he’s the Larry Izzo of the RB’s (Even though Larry Izzo went to the stupid Jets, he’s still a Patriot at heart). Sammy Morris is also a sure handed running back. He too, was hurt for the lions share of last season, but he has been around for a while and he knows how to play the position.
The new guys:
Here we have Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. Don’t know all that much about these youngsters, but I will say that Vereen is a great name, in fact I plan on making some great catch phrases for him (“Vereen will make ya scareem” ), so he gets my vote. However, the 56th pick in this year’s draft has some injury issues, which allows Ridley to showcase what he has early on. It’s a leg up that Ridley can’t afford to let slip by.
With the off-season the way it has been with the Patriots you can’t overlook a phantom move. Belichick has been surprising everyone with these strong acquisitions so it is possible that another running back could be joining this parade. Think about it, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk are both coming off of injuries, Faulk’s being a severe one and Morris is just always hurt anyways, so why not have some insurance. If I had to make a wild guess I would say Ricky Williams is that guy, he has been seen around the area quite often this year.
Obviously, you keep The Law Firm, Danny Woodhead, and Kevin Faulk (as long as there are no serious injuries). Until we see what the new guys can do I have to say I wouldn’t mind seeing Sammy Morris go. A Ricky Williams type player would be great, but that move only makes sense if injuries take their toll early on. If the Patriots decide to go with 4 RB’s, then it would have to be one of the new guys hitting the bricks. I would flip a coin, best 2 out of 3 of course, loser goes, winner gets to kick the loser in the shin on the way out… it’s only fair. It remains to be seen how this will all shake out, but rest assured the Patriots have a solid running back core, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.