New England Patriots: Mike Gillislee makes bold statement about backfield
By Nick Ziegler
After three days of training camp, New England Patriots running back Mike Gillislee recently praised his fellow running backs.
Coming into training camp, the running back position was certainly one to keep an eye on for the New England Patriots. With a lot of good running backs, the Patriots are certainly deep at the position.
One of the new additions to the Patriots backfield was Mike Gillislee. After a strong season with the Buffalo Bills, Gillislee was signed as a restricted free agent this offseason. Despite playing well for the Bills, they declined to match the offer made by the Patriots to Gillislee.
Last season with the Bills, Gillislee totaled 577 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. As the backup to LeSean McCoy, Gillislee was still able to have a great season. Despite playing with one of the best running backs in the league last season, Gillislee praised his new teammates as the most talented group he has played with.
"“This is the most talented group of running backs that I’ve ever been a part of,” Gillislee said to DJ Bean of CSNNE.com. “These guys are not only great football players; they’re great human beings as well. I’m just blessed to get this opportunity to be here.”"
Seeing this statement from Gillislee is rather shocking. While the Patriots have a lot of depth at the position, they certainly don’t have a running back the caliber of McCoy. Also, Gillislee spent time with the Arizona Cardinals, who at the time had both David Johnson and Chris Johnson.
With the Patriots, Gillislee will certainly have a chance to shine. While he might not be the every-down back to start the season, he could certainly play his way into that role. To start the season, it is safe to assume that Gillislee will be getting the carries on the goal line.
"“I pretty much established myself a little bit last year when I was with Buffalo on the goal line,” Gillislee said. “I just had to come here and show the coaches what I was able to do. I think I was able to do that today.”"
With the departure of Blount, the Patriots will have plenty of extra carries to go around. As the assumed replacement for Blount, Gillislee will have the opportunity to run for 1,000 yards like Blount did last season.
Next: Observations from Day 3 of camp
The Patriots have had a lot of luck getting players to contribute from other teams within the division. In 2017, they hope that Gillislee will be able to perform like Chris Hogan did for them in 2016.