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Passing Backs Set To Thrive In Patriots Offense

Rex Burkhead

The Superbowl last season was a prime example of how the Patriots can utilize their running backs in the passing game.  James White was the beneficiary in that game putting up huge numbers, 14 catches for over 100 yards and accounting for 20 total points (3 TDs and one two-point conversion).  They utilize the running backs in the passing game by creating mismatches on linebackers.  Pre-snap motions and creative route combinations with precise timing and execution make it difficult for linebackers to keep up in coverage and in the open field after the catch.

Last night in the Patriots second preseason game versus the Texans, the Patriots used two other “passing backs”, Rex Burkhead and D.J. Foster.  Both players played well and each ran a short pass in for a touchdown.  Dion Lewis has also played well this preseason and is another passing back that can be a dangerous weapon for the offense.  With White, Lewis, Burkhead, and Foster the Patriots have arguably the best group of passing backs in the league and are primed for massive production.

James White had 60 catches last season and looks to lead the group of passing backs this season for the Patriots as he has established himself as one of the leagues premier passing backs.  When they decide to use two at the same time, Lewis is projected to be the other back used.  Burkhead is another option as he has shown soft hands and crisp route running. DJ Foster is still looking to solidify a spot on the team and is a promising candidate for a back-end spot on the roster, the main reason being the amount of talent at the other positions on offense.

With the number of weapons the Patriots have at receiver and tight end it will only make life easier for the running backs.  Vertical threats like Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, and Chris Hogan will open up the field while route specialists like Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola will require cornerbacks thus leaving a linebacker on the running backs with open space.  This was evident in Superbowl LI as well as last nights preseason game.  The Patriots will continue to pass to running backs and they will continue to do their job.

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