New England Patriots: 3 stars from blowout victory over the Jets

New England Patriots running back James White (28) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots running back James White (28) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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New England Patriots
James White #28 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots star performer No. 2: James White

The 2020 season was not kind to James White. Off the field, he suffered the loss of his father in a car accident, which understandably caused him to miss a couple of games. On the field, the Patriots switch to Cam Newton as quarterback phased him out of the team’s gameplan for the most part, and it seemed like he was set to depart considering he was a free agent this past offseason.

But White re-signed with New England in the offseason, and he has looked the like the pass-catching back Pats fans have come to know him as. Questions loomed whether White would have a roster spot early on in the summer, but once training camp rolled around it was clear he was set for a bounce back season. White’s first two games have showed the talented dual-threat running back still is one of the best at what he does.

White has quickly turned into Mac Jones’ safety valve of sorts, and he has already picked up six receptions in both of New England’s first two games. White also remains a solid option of the ground when called upon, and he punched in the Pats first touchdown against the Jets on a simple handoff where he pulled off a pair of jukes before strolling into the endzone untouched.

White’s impact was never more evident than on the Patriots first touchdown drive. The Patriots ran seven plays on the drive, and five of them involved White. It started off with a 28 yard screen pass, included a trick play that involved White handling a pitch to the right, then turning around and throwing the ball back to Jones for him to pass, and ended with his seven yard score. Without White, that drive doesn’t work.

It’s clear White is a great security blanket for a rookie quarterback like Jones, and he will continue to be a vital part of the team as the season goes on. It felt like Jones was looking his way a bit too often on Sunday, but that’s what happens when you have a guy like White at your disposal. As the offense continues to open up, you can still count on White to be there to pick up five yards on a crucial third and four as he has done countless times throughout his career.