New England Patriots: Rex Burkhead ‘getting more comfortable’ with new team

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 11: Running back Rex Burkhead
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 11: Running back Rex Burkhead /

Running back Rex Burkhead is proving he is the perfect New England Patriots player on the practice field, but can he do the same on the field? 

All indications are yes.  When the New England Patriots signed the former Cincinnati Bengals running back to a one-year deal this offseason, it was seen as the perfect marriage due to his versatility on the football field.

The 27-year-old Burkhead has the ability to help the defending Super Bowl champions in many ways and is showing those things so far on the practice field.

He can run the ball between the tackles, he can catch the ball and he can play special teams.  If he performs all of those well on the football field, he will set himself apart in a crowded backfield.

Much of how he performs will depend on how comfortable he becomes in a loaded Patriots’ offense.  So far, he has impressed on the practice field, demonstrating the qualities that made him attractive to the New England Patriots.

"“I still have a long ways to go in some areas, for sure, but definitely getting more comfortable,” Burkhead said, via the Boston Herald.  “Just have to keep doing the little things right, and making sure I say on top of those.”"

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Top of the depth chart

While the team focused on running backs Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden and DJ Foster in the first preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Patriots fans will have to wait to see Burkhead on the field.  It may happen this Saturday night against the Houston Texans.

No matter when he gets to showcase his talents, Rex Burkhead says he isn’t taking anything for granted.  He will continue to work hard and stay focused on making this football team.  It appears he is a lock to make the 53-man roster, but he is not taking it for granted.

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"“I’m just focused on getting better every day and this week, going against the Houston Texans, so I don’t really think about that,” Burkhead said.  “I know there are a lot of things that I have to improve upon.  If I get caught up in that, then there’s going to be bad things happening, so I’m really just focused on what I need to do.”"

Establishing a role

The 27-year-old running back won’t present the same physical presence as former running back LeGarrette Blount, but he does have an ability to run the ball between the tackle.  His 119 yards rushing and two touchdowns against the Baltimore Ravens in his final game with the Bengals proves that.

But can he do that on a consistent basis?

With the group of running backs the team has, he will not be expected to and will not need to in this Patriots’ offense.

And while we can’t expect Burkhead to take on the role of featured back on this team, it is safe to bet that he will earn some type of role and contribute in big ways.

Next: 3 Reasons Rex Burkhead is the Perfect Patriot

As we know, the New England Patriots have a knack for putting players like Rex Burkhead in the best position to succeed.  Already sounding like the perfect Patriot, he is taking it “one day at a time” and keyed on helping the team win games in any way possible.