Patriots: RB James White is Becoming a Valuable Weapon


Even in an ugly loss, the New England Patriots received promising play from RB James White.

Look at it as an excuse if you wish, but there is not denying it. Injuries have held the New England Patriots back this season. Sure, they have not performed up to their capabilities in their back-to-back losses these past couple of weeks, but a depleted roster is at least partially to blame.

The Patriots looked pretty bad throughout most of their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The special teams were awful, the defense failed to adapt to the Eagles’ speed and the receivers struggled with drops and getting open for Tom Brady. The loss to the lowly Eagles was ugly, there is no doubt about it, but there were some individual performances worth noting. None more relevant than running back James White.

White has been forced into a more prominent role in recent weeks, after the season-ending injury to fellow running back Dion Lewis. While he has shown some flashes, White had yet to establish himself as a strong option as the Patriots’ all-important receiving back. That being said, on Sunday White showed that he has the ability to be a valuable weapon for the Patriots going forward.

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In a performance reminiscent to great Patriots’ receiving backs of the past like Kevin Faulk and Shane Vereen, White only totaled four rushing yards on two carries against the Eagles, but led the team with 10 receptions and 115 receiving yards. This included a four-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter to get the Patriots on the scoreboard.

While Brady is struggling with receivers not getting open or catching the ball, White brought in his 10 receptions on only 13 targets. Simply put, he was there when Brady needed him to be, and always seemed to be the one making the big play. White was a true force in the Patriots’ passing attack against the Eagles.

The Patriots will continue to get healthier moving forward, as both Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman are expected to return at some point. That being, after dropping back-to-back games, the Patriots are all of a sudden needing to step up for premier playoff position without some of the best weapons being available.

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Until Gronkowski and eventually Edelman can return, Brady will continue to rely on limited options. Danny Amendola is filling in admirably, but he clearly was not 100% healthy on Sunday. Scott Chandler is alright, but he will never be mistaken for Gronk. White’s emergence could be absolutely essential for the Patriots as they lack consistent options until their stars return.