New England Patriots bye week: examining the running backs

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Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

James White

Between his rushing attempts and receptions, White has touched the ball just six times. Lewis has leapfrogged over him on the depth chart, which is why he has seen limited action. But he is third on the depth chart right now, which isn’t too shabby for a second-year player. Clearly, the Pats value White more than they did Travaris Cadet, who they released earlier this week.

In garbage time against the Jags, White made a nifty 11-yard catch, proving that he is capable of the receiving back role currently filled by Lewis. If Lewis was to get hurt, White ought to be a suitable replacement.

Brandon Bolden

Bolden has taken six handoffs and gained just two yards so far this year. It’s safe to say that the Patriots aren’t using Bolden as a central component of their rushing attack, and that’s just fine; Bolden is a special teams ace.

To put it in perspective, here are the halftime snap counts of the Patriots’ running backs. As you can see, Bolden is pretty much an afterthought in the settled offense.

I’m a big fan of Bolden the special teamer, not as big a fan of Bolden the ball carrier. He does good work in the most-overlooked phase of the game.

Next: AFC Power Rankings entering Week 4: Pats lead the pack