Patriots running back core seems to be a valuable asset

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 17: Mike Gillislee
NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 17: Mike Gillislee /

The New England Patriots have the most versatile running back core in the league, and they’re all helping the offense succeed in 2017.

The Patriots have the most versatile running back core in the league.  James White and Rex Burkhead are mostly being used in passing scenarios. Gillislee is the main back when it comes to running the ball. With all of this Dion Lewis seems to be in limbo because with all these backs everyone can’t get the ball.

Mike Gillislee is proving to be a great replacement for LeGarrette Blount. He may even be better. Gillislee has scored 4 touchdowns in two games this season. On Sunday he was the Patriots leading rusher against the Saints once again with 18 carries for 69 yards. The numbers aren’t that flashy but let’s remember that Tom Brady threw for 447 yards. In two games Gillislee has 33 carries for 114 yards for the Pats. Yesterday was also great because Gillislee showed off his speed. He had multiple carries where he stretched the defense and was able to gain yards.

James White is having a great season as a pass catching back. He had 8 catches for 85 yards versus the Saints. White’s speed makes him so dangerous. When he is able to gain speed before he even has the ball he has proven to be hard to track down. Against the Saints White was finding a good chunk of his catches on screen plays. In both games this season White is averaging 10 yards per reception. With his exceptional play, he has garnered some high praise from his quarterback.

Rex Burkhead is also having success catching the ball. He had 3 catches for 41 yards yesterday and scored his first touchdown as a Patriot.

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He was stuck behind Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard last season but it seems Burkhead is going to have an increased role in New England.  The issue is that Burkhead picked up a rib injury to add to the ever-increasing Patriots injury report. He left the game in the 4th quarter due to a rib injury. Hopefully, it isn’t that big of a deal especially since he isn’t even listed on the Patriots injury report on the team’s website. On Wednesday the team will put out their injury report so expect to see the severity of his injury then.

Dion Lewis seems to be left behind with the depth the Patriots have at running back. He was the second leading rusher for the Patriots but he only had 14 yards. Lewis only has 6 carries for 23 yards for the season. It will be interesting to see if Burkhead’s injury is serious what Lewis’s role will be.

Next: Patriots march all over the Saints

Yesterday was the Patriots team that everyone expected to see. The running backs will continue to be a key part especially with the injuries that the team is racking up. This week, they’ll be up against a tough Houston Texans defense at home in Foxboro.