New England Patriots: New running backs have impressed James White
By Nick Ziegler
The New England Patriots might have a crowded backfield in 2017, but that could help lead to great things.
After winning their fifth Super Bowl, the New England Patriots made some changes to their backfield for the 2017 season.
While it became apparent that the Patriots did seem interested in re-signing running back LeGarrette Blount, they went on to add two new running backs. Mike Gillislee from the Buffalo Bills and Rex Burkhead from the Cincinnati Bengals are two of the most notable new faces for the Patriots.
Both weren’t featured players in 2016 with their teams, but they can both play a role for the Patriots in 2017. For Gillislee, he will be the power back, and also possibly the leading workhorse on the ground. Burkhead should fit nicely into the Patriots receiving game out of the backfield, while also helping on special teams.
Even though the backfield became a bit more crowded, Super Bowl hero Jame White praised both players.
"“They fit in very well,” White said to Phil Perry of CSNNE.com. “You gotta welcome the guys in. You never know who’s going to be here so you get around those guys, help them learn the offense, let them know how we work here, let them get a feel for this system so that they’re comfortable and they feel at home”“They’re both good football players. I’ve watched those guys since college. It’s great to have more competition here. It’s going to bring the best out of each and every player. I think competition brings the best out of you. You compete with each and every one of those guys that we have, and I think it’ll make the team better.”"
Even though White had a monster game in the Super Bowl, his role might not change much in 2017. While he should lead the running backs in receptions, seeing White more involved in the running game doesn’t seem too likely.
Next: Early 53-man roster projection
Without a featured back, the Patriots will likely be using the hot hand and a running back by committee in 2017. While this might frustrate fantasy football owners, it should work out well for the Patriots on the field.