New England Patriots Roundtable Discussion: Week 6

Chris Hogan (15) has been producing for the Patriots. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Hogan (15) has been producing for the Patriots. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /
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James White Patriots
James White (28) of the Patriots runs for a big gain in Week 5. Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /

"James Caughlin: The running game kind of came back to earth against the Browns. Do you see James White and eventually Dion Lewis becoming the backs with the most snaps now that Brady is back?"

Connor Fulton: Even with Brady back, the Patriots need to have a potent rushing attack. Brady may be feeling better at 39 than he was at 29, but the fact remains that the 2016 Patriots will not be Super Bowl champions if they pin their hopes of winning on Brady’s shoulder 45, 50 times a game. This offense needs the downhill running of Blount, which is why I see LG surpassing the 1,000-yard mark with plenty of room, a first for a Patriots running back since Stevan Ridley did it in 2012.

Hal Bent: Yeah, with the return of Tom Brady the quarter-season of LeGarrette Blount being the focal point of offense came to an end. Blount may get 15 carries a game going forward, but most of those will be in the second half while protecting a lead. When offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels wants to call a play to gain four yards, he is going to have to decide between throwing to Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett, Julian Edelman, an emerging James White, or hopefully Dion Lewis possibly in single-coverage with a chance to break a tackle and turn it into a 30-yard gain or give it to Blount and hope the offensive line makes enough space that he can power forward for the yards. At this point it is a no-brainer to let Tom Brady throw the ball within five yards of the line of scrimmage and get the ball into the hands of a playmaker rather than run it.

Next: 5 Bold Predictions for Pats-Bengals

Joe Lewis: There’s just no way to predict anything in a Bill Belichick backfield. As with most other aspects of the offense, I think the rushing attack is going to be game-specific. Against teams with a soft front seven, you’ll probably see a steady dose of LeGarrette Blount between the tackles. Against more stout defenses geared toward stopping the run, however, there will likely be more plays dialed up for White and Lewis to take advantage of the bulkier (i.e., slower) linebackers in those packages.