Patriots looking for running back “to play power football for us”

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The Patriots have long mixed and matched running backs with situations in order to keep their offense rolling and this year promises to be no different.

New arrivals Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead have joined holdovers Dion Lewis, James White and Brandon Bolden in a deep backfield, albeit one that doesn’t have a clear choice to fill the big back role that LeGarrette Blount rode to 18 touchdowns last season. Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears said the search for which player is the best fit for that job will be one of the things on tap during training camp.

“Somebody’s got to play big for us,” Fears said, via the team’s website. “We have enough guys who can play finesse football. Somebody’s got to play power football for us so we have to find out who’s going to do that. I think a lot of those guys are capable of that. Freakin’ James White ran the power offense when he was at Wisconsin so, what are we talking about? But he’s got to do it for us here. Not just him, but whether it’s Mike, whether it’s Rex or Brandon Bolden … somebody’s got to step up and be the big back when we need one and all those roles that come up in the game we have to find somebody to fit those roles, and I think we will.”

None of the backs have Blount’s size, but they will be working behind a good offensive line and in an offense with enough threats that defenses will have a hard time selling out against any one option. That should help in all situations, including the ones where New England needs a back to lower the shoulder and pick up two yards to keep the chains moving.

27 responses to “Patriots looking for running back “to play power football for us”

  1. Watch out NFL,,,it’s going to be 2007,,solid running,,,setting up wide open passing game

  2. Brandon Bolden is a good special teams player. You cannot count on him in the running game. Gillislee will probably be the power back.

  3. I just re-watched a bunch of their games last year. Blount does get hit for no-gains quite a bit, but Fears is correct. Blount did make guys miss, too, and was a punishing back that often drug defenders with him for extra yards. I don’t think Gillislee can do that.

  4. Blount is a middle of the road talent who had a really big TD scoring season. They’ll be fine with the RBs they have.

  5. My biggest fear is that the Pats might be too finesse. Sometimes we rely on too much finesse or need to fool the defense. Sometimes that doesn’t work.

    Don’t get me wrong I’ma very grateful fan. Lost in a lot of Patriots fan chest thumping is that we damn near lost our opening playoff game vs Baltimore in 2014. I took a miracle and quite a bit of trickery to win that game. I do hope we can get that tough yard when the time comes to get that tough yard.

  6. Thank you James White for your performance in SB LI after Blount’s fumble.

    6 carries 29 yds 2 TDs
    14 receptions 110 yds 1 TD
    plus a 2 pt conversion up the middle.

  7. They will be sorry they didn’t re-sign Blount. They have some good backs but none with Blount’s power.

  8. From a Bills fan…U Guys are going to love Gillislee !! Hate that we lost him..the last 2 yrs in Buff he averaged 5 yrds a carry..i can see him being your featured back.

  9. I don’t get why fans beat up Blount for the fumble? It was his first lost fumble since week 1 of the season vs AZ. It’s not as if he threw a pick 6 or anything.

  10. Silly how fans and mostly the NE media discounted Lagarrette Blount’s contribution last season. They feel as though he just had 18 1 yard runs for touchdowns.

    The guy gained 1,100 yards on a team that does not ‘run’ the ball as a featured part of their offense.

    He was not there for 1st and 10. He got the ball on 2nd, 3rd and 4th and short.

    When he got to the second level, or in any kind of space, he made defenders miss. He was also a very good kick returner in his first stint w/NE.

  11. Gillislee is the between the tackles, short yardage/goal line back

    Dion Lewis/James White are passing backs

    And Burkhead can kind of do both.

    I’m hoping they carry all four because they all have different skill sets for different situations. They also provide great depth, because you know some RB’s are going to get nicked up along the way.

  12. .
    At the end of the day it will be running back by committee. That approach reduces wear and tear on the backs and allows Belichick to play the hot hand, which he actually prefers.

  13. Blount should have charged the Steelers tickets for that ride he took their entire defense on in the playoffs. It’d be nice to find that quality in someone else. Looking at you, Mr. Gillislee.

  14. This is the best backfield patriots have ever had.

    This is the best receiver core the patriots have ever had. (How they perform we shall see).

    This is the best QB core we have ever had.

    I see Brady trying to break manning’s touchdown record this year.

    I see Brady throwing for one 8 touchdown game this season.

    I see them going 19-0 for belicheck and back to back for Brady.

    Brady will retire the season he has more touchdowns than manning

  15. Blount may not have the versatility or the consistency compared to what the Patriots will have in 2017. Having Blount on the field in 2017 would send a message to the opponents that its likely a run play. The patriots offensive may be extremely unpredictable in 2017 based on who is in the huddle on a given play. Good luck to the defensive coordinators of the opponents.

    Blount also fumbled on footballs biggest stage….and helped put the patriots in a situation where they needed an historic comeback to win the SB. It sounded like Blount was specifically told before the SB to watch out for the Falcons defense trying to take the ball away.

    Bill B is trying to improve the team and the stats show that both Gillislee and Burkhead gain consistent yards per carry and were at the top of the NFL running backs in that stat.

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