Offseason addition Donald Brown wears the No. 34 jersey, so he is the subject of discussion today as we mark 34 days until the New England Patriots open 2016.
Size: 5-foot-11, 210 pounds
NFL experience: Seven seasons
2015 stats: 229 rushing yards (3.9 yards per carry, rushing touchdown; eight receptions, 88 yards
Selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Brown has accumulated career totals of 2,829 rushing yards, 18 rushing touchdowns, 120 receptions, 1,066 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. Without a doubt, Brown’s best days were with the Colts, a five-year span highlighted by 645 rushing yards in 2011 and 537 in 2013.
In the 2014 offseason, Brown skipped town to join the San Diego Chargers, but it turned out to be a poor career move for the UConn product. Playing in Danny Woodhead’s shadow, Brown averaged a lousy 3.1 yards per carry in two seasons with the Chargers, registering 452 yards on the ground and just one score.
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A fresh start in New England, however, could be all Brown needs to turn his career around. Yesterday, my co-editor Cyrus Geller pondered if the Patriots might take a sixth running back after LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis, James White, Brandon Bolden and James Develin, and Brown could be that guy. Jimmy Garoppolo is going to need all the run support he can get, so the Patriots may take an all-hands-on-deck approach in the backfield.
Then again, Brown is fast approaching age 30 so the Patriots may elect to tab a younger, fresher ball carrier in a depth or practice squad role. D.J. Foster, Joey Iosefa and Tyler Gaffney are Brown’s main competitors for that sixth spot on the running back depth chart.
Tomorrow marks 33 days until the Patriots open 2016, so be sure to stop by Musket Fire as we profile the owner of the No. 33 jersey, running back Dion Lewis.