Josh McDaniels: James White will get more opportunities

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Running back Dion Lewis was a pleasant surprise for the Patriots in the first half of the season, but he tore his ACL last Sunday and will miss the rest of the season.

The Patriots will have to adjust their offensive approach with Lewis out of the lineup and James White is one of the players who could be part of the solution to the loss of Lewis on passing downs. The 2014 fourth-round pick has played sparingly over the last two seasons and was a healthy scratch last week, but looks like a better fit for that role than LeGarrette Blount or Brandon Bolden and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels suggested the Patriots will be giving him a chance to prove he can handle it.

“James is a guy who continues to get better,” McDaniels said, via CSNNE.com. “Hopefully his best football is in front of him. You know, he’s still a young player, has only been in our system for a year and a half here I think. And going forward, whatever his role is, I’m sure James will be prepared, and will give our team everything he has. So I really like his approach and his mentality, and he’s got a maturity about him that I really feel good about. He’ll have an opportunity now to step in there and play a little bit more with Dion’s situation.”

White probably isn’t the only part of the plan to replace all of what Lewis brought to the offense, but handling some of it in the near term would be the best way for White to earn a bigger piece of the pie over the long haul. If he can’t, the Patriots may need to look outside the organization for other options that fit what they’re looking for out of the backfield.

26 responses to “Josh McDaniels: James White will get more opportunities

  1. Actually White has been a healthy scratch for almost 3 quarters of his career. I personally don’t like him because he seems to go down at first contact, and has shown almost nothing in his first 2 seasons to deserve a roster spot.

    Clearly McDaniels thinks a lot more of him than I do, so it probably make sense to defer to his opinion. :D. Who knows. There were a lot of fans who thought Dion Lewis was merely camp fodder when he was first signed.
    White does have decent hands and speed. So at least he’ll catch the ball. Its what he can do with it after is what I’m worried about.

  2. I think White has done some good things, but he doesn’t get a lot of touches. It almost seems that they are teaching him to block on the fly before giving him a more prominent role. This is not an uncommon tack for the Pats as they like to bring along young players, with decent talent and an ability to learn, slowly. I am sure he will be fine. Lewis’ touches will be split between White and Bolden with some new wrinkles to maximize their abilities.

  3. I was kind of excited about White when he joined the team. White has good ball security and he’s pretty fast. Not sure he is a great receiver and not sure he can block.

    It will be hard to replace Lewis, but if White could step up that would be good.

  4. justintuckrule says:
    Nov 11, 2015 11:15 AM

    Chugga chugga choo choo… Right into the station where they’ve dropped their last 3.

    ———–

    Not quite true. The Patriots won the only game in NY.

  5. I’m not just saying this because I’m a former Wisconsin Badger myself, and a “homer” Bostonian. But I have always loved James White’s game. this guy can be very special. Just like Deion Lewis. He is not as fast and explosive as Lewis. But he’s faster than Kevin Faulk, much more elusive than Boldin, and as good of a receiver as Lewis and Vereen. THe best way to describe him IMO is that he’s a slight upgrade over Shane Vereen. But doesn’t quite have that “it” factor yet. Mostly because Tom Brady hasn’t helped him shape it yet. This is his big chance. If he delivers for Brady, Belichick and McDaniel, he’ll become a huge star in the NFL.

    I’m very excited for him. And I’d bet the ranch, after about 3 weeks ESPN and all other pundits will be scratching their heads. While proclaiming , Belichick has done it again!

  6. justintuckrule says:
    Nov 11, 2015 11:15 AM

    Chugga chugga choo choo… Right into the station where they’ve dropped their last 3.
    ———————————————————
    I love Justin, I really do. Enjoy the hype leading up to the game Justin. Just expect to be disappointed after though. Now if the G men pull off the upset you’ll have every right to proclaim your team “owns” the Pats and unfortunately there’s not a damned thing we Pats fans can say to prove you wrong. So, like I said before, enjoy your “Super Bowl” this week. Pats fans look forward to the lead up to SB 50 and the possibility that once again Brady and Belichick make history.

  7. Hey Justin,

    The past is the past and both teams have few players left from the 2011 teams. Coughlin has come up with some great game plans against the Pats so there’s always a concern there. And these teams usually play each ither in the preseason so there’s a little familiarity there.

    I think the Pats can create more favorable matchups with the current rosters than in the past.

    Would like to see a win but not an easy one as long as noone gets injured. Its all well and goid to beat up the tomato can teams but its much better preparation for the playoffs to have some tough games.

  8. .
    @justintuck

    Last season ( when the Giants were 6-10), the Patriots were beaten by Miami, Kansas City, Green Bay and buff

  9. Dion Lewis was the new Kevin Faulk, but even more explosive. James White is the new Shane Vereen. I’m sure White will be good, but Lewis could pull a rabbit out of his hat on the field. His cuts / change of direction was incredible. Hopefully, the ACL won’t affect his style next year. But this year, we’re on to James White.

  10. “Actually White has been a healthy scratch for almost 3 quarters of his career.”

    His career is a year and a half old. Vereen went through the same protocol; despite being a second round pick he sat while 3rd round pick Ridley played.

    I think we can trust Bill and Josh.

  11. Lewis is a tough loss, but we still have Blount, Bolden, and White.

    Much more concerned about the O-line. Is Volmer going to play?

  12. ” sure White will be good, but Lewis could pull a rabbit out of his hat on the field. His cuts / change of direction was incredible. Hopefully, the ACL won’t affect his style next year. But this year, we’re on to James White.”

    So true. It was amazing to watch. He sorta reminded me of Barry Sanders doing that. But being an ancient RB myself, I can guarantee you. That those cuts put enormous stress and strain on his ACL. And were probably the most likely culprit for them giving up. Just like Gale Sayers and other great cutters. White is more of a 1-2 cut and go RB like Shane Vereen. But he’s a better runner of the FB than Vereen. He just needs the reps to prove it. And Josh sounds like he’s going to tee those reps up. Great stuff for us Pat-landers. If White succeeds in his role, it will make Blount and the tight ends even more lethal.

  13. @ ohand16…Not only is Josh talking about White. The other day he was talking about the players on the ol. I thought that was very strange. Something is afoot.

  14. justintuckrule says:
    Nov 11, 2015 11:15 AM
    Chugga chugga choo choo… Right into the station where they’ve dropped their last 3.

    ******************************************************

    The Patriots are 2-1 in North Jersey vs the giants.

  15. carloswlassiter says:
    Nov 11, 2015 2:36 PM
    Edelman moves into the backfield as RB, Keyshawn Martin starts as WR.
    **************************************************

    Interesting, in a Randall Cobb sort of way. But I don’t want to see him running too much out of the backfield and taking too many hits. He’s too valuable as a wide out.

  16. personally i’d prefer more amendola out of the backfield with respect to his skill set and reliable hands, but his injury history makes such a move unlikely. can’t afford to lose him down the stretch.

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