Patriots: 10 long-term positives from 2015

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Dion Lewis Patriots
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8. Slippery running backs Dion Lewis and James White

Much like they directly addressed the departure of Wilfork, the Patriots filled the void left by Shane Vereen in the pass catching backfield role with the rise of first Lewis, then White once Lewis tore his ACL.

From the Dion Lewis vault:

An open letter to Dion Lewis

Dion Lewis on pace to total 1,400 yards from scrimmage

Who is Dion Lewis?

Over the course of the regular season, Lewis and White satisfied Brady’s need for a target out of the backfield by combining for 798 yards and six touchdowns on 76 receptions in addition to 290 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

While Lewis is definitely the more exciting player, White was serviceable cog in his own right. Brady displayed his confidence in the sophomore pro by targeting him throughout the AFC Championship Game.

10 Most valuable Patriots from 2015 regular season

In 2016, look for the Patriots to use these two players interchangeably. Since both Lewis and White serve the same role in the Patriots’ offense, it’s likely that White will only see significant action if Lewis is injured.

It’s a luxury to have a pair of such talented and versatile skill players on the same roster.

Next: 7. Trio of rookie offensive linemen