New England Patriots signing Elliott won't matter if they can't block

Dallas Cowboys v New England Patriots
Dallas Cowboys v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

After choosing not to re-sign running back Damien Harris in free agency and waiving James Robinson before he even practiced, the Patriots entered training camp with a thin backfield behind Rhamondre Stevenson. However, after weeks of speculation, the Patriots will be bringing in former Dallas Cowboy Ezekiel Elliott according to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

On paper, the tandem of Stevenson and Elliott gives the Patriots one of the better backfields in the NFL but while the team addressed one issue in backfield depth, they continue to ignore the issue that is their offensive line.

So far in training camp, the line has been the biggest disappointment as Trent Brown has been in and out of practice, Mike Onwenu is still recovering from offseason ankle surgery and Cole Strange has not practiced since suffering an injury on July 31st, although it isn't considered serious. Still, first-year offensive line coach Adrian Klemm has had his work cut out for him putting together a patchwork line with older guys such as Riley Reiff and Conor McDermott along with the rookies Sidy Sow and Atonio Mafi.

In last week's preseason opener, the results were not good. The Patriots were only able to muster 164 total yards of offense (75 of which came on their final drive) and nine first downs. The triumvirate of Pierre Strong, Kevin Harris and J.J. Taylor struggled all evening as they combined for 35 rushing yards on 18 carries (a dismal 1.9 yards per rush). The team's longest run of the night was Malik Cunningham's nine-yard touchdown run, not great. In addition, Patriots quarterbacks were sacked three times and the Texans had seven tackles for loss.

While the addition of Elliott is great from a depth perspective, unless the Patriots can either get healthy fast or sign more depth along the offensive line it won't matter who they have lining up behind Mac Jones. Football is won in the trenches and right now, the Patriots are losing that battle badly.