Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from neinmd. Show neinmd's posts

    Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    I haven't seen a lot of media focus on the Patriots' running game so far but I have a feeling we may be talking a lot about it as the year progresses.

    Ridley and Vereen are more experienced and down the learning curve on McDaniel's offensive playcalls. Ridley was becoming a good to very good inside zone runner towards the end of last season, especially on no huddle plays. Vereen has become a safe and physical outside zone runner, and was especially good at following tight-ends. Jake Ballard is a good receiving tight-end but an even better blocker, especially on wham blocks. If Gronk and Ballard are on the same plays, watch out because both are awesome blockers. Thibault is a mystery wrapped in an enigma but if he can play a supporting role, and be happy doing it, he could be a third massive blocker off the line, and could plow a path for Vereen or Ridley, but could also be a consistent toss threat that you have to respect because he could end up throwing the ball or running it. Finally, McDaniels was increasing the variety of running plays as the year progressed and Cannon, in particular was doing a good job pulling on running plays. Maybe he moves to the guard position and gives Connolly some competition since right guard wasn't the team's strength last year. Kaczur did a great job as right tackle. Vereen, in particular, could benefit from this.

    Maybe I am dreaming but the pieces all make sense to me for a great rushing attack. As long as Tom Brady is on board, the passing attack will always be elite, but it would be nice to have the passing attack key off of a strong running threat, especially in December and January.


    What say you?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from WazzuWheatfarmer. Show WazzuWheatfarmer's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?


    This certainly has the potential to be the best running attack that we have seen in a long time.  Not only are our RBs talented and experienced in the system, but our OL looks very good as well.  Of course injuries can change things for any team, but if our players stay healthy then I think we could see a very formidable rushing attack in 2013, which would open up oour passing game even more.  I like this offense's potential, even with the new faces.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from rkarp. Show rkarp's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    The WR group needs to come together so that teams dont stack the box against the Pats run game. Boyce or Dobson must develop to force the S out of the box. 

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from neinmd. Show neinmd's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to rkarp's comment:

    The WR group needs to come together so that teams dont stack the box against the Pats run game. Boyce or Dobson must develop to force the S out of the box. 




    I think you could argue that the corollary may hold. A strong running attack could open up passing lanes.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from WazzuWheatfarmer. Show WazzuWheatfarmer's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to rkarp's comment:

    The WR group needs to come together so that teams dont stack the box against the Pats run game. Boyce or Dobson must develop to force the S out of the box. 




    I think it will.  We have enough young talent that Brady will have options outside the numbers.  Ideally we will have 2 or 3 WRs who develop into "outside the number" threats to keep the defenses guessing and also to keep the middle of the field reasonably open.  Dobson just needs to make a few plays to get his confidence rolling and then I really think he will do some big things for us.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from anonymis. Show anonymis's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    Before the fallout with Hernandez....and assuming Ballard and Gronk were going to be healthy at the beginning of the season - I would have said yes.

     

    That being said, with Hernandez now gone - it's still possible that having Gronk and Ballard on the field at the same time - can be a boon for the RB corp.

     

    If they can provide better blocking than Gronk and Crumpler combo in the past...then the RB corp should have a good season.  Hopefully, it will take some pressure off the passing game early in the season. If neither Gronk or Ballard are healthy by the beginning of the season....I think the running game will suffer.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from BabeParilli. Show BabeParilli's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    Running up stats against crappy teams doesn't make for a good running game. We still cannot run the ball when we need to and Ridley has lost 2 fumbles in 37 playoff rushing attempts. That would be about 16 lost fumbles if he had done it that often on his 2012 season.

    We are a long way from being a good running team and there is zero reason to believe that is about to change.

     

     http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff6/babeparilli/gif_193x113_39ce6f_zps83b8ca29.gif?t=1373985234

     

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from anonymis. Show anonymis's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to BabeParilli's comment:

    Running up stats against crappy teams doesn't make for a good running game. We still cannot run the ball when we need to and Ridley has lost 2 fumbles in 37 playoff rushing attempts. That would be about 16 lost fumbles if he had done it that often on his 2012 season.

    We are a long way from being a good running team and there is zero reason to believe that is about to change.

      



    I agree.  There is the timliness issue. And using the running game effectively when managing the clock. In regards to Ridley's last fumble.....he had his bell rung hard and clear - not sure many RBs would've held on. But I hear ya.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from TFB12. Show TFB12's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    I will feel much better once Ridley takes some big shots to the head and walks away without a concussion.  I didn't like seeing him knocked cold by Pollard in the AFC Championship game.  Sometimes a guy takes a hit like that, they can be knocked easily the next time or are more vulnerable to future concussions.

     

    ---------------------------------------------

    "Being the best doesn't mean you always win. It just means you win more than anybody else."  Text received by Tom Brady from Kurt Warner after Ravens loss.


    view my Patriots photoshops at patsfanfotoshop.tumblr.com





     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Getzo. Show Getzo's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to BabeParilli's comment:

     

    Running up stats against crappy teams doesn't make for a good running game. We still cannot run the ball when we need to and Ridley has lost 2 fumbles in 37 playoff rushing attempts. That would be about 16 lost fumbles if he had done it that often on his 2012 season.

    We are a long way from being a good running team and there is zero reason to believe that is about to change.

     

     http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff6/babeparilli/gif_193x113_39ce6f_zps83b8ca29.gif?t=1373985234

     

     




    Wow.  1200 yards and 12 TD's is not luck, especially when you play less the 50% of the time.  Vereen showed a lot of promise and will be great in a third down/change of pace role.  No doubt in my mind.  All I know is Ridley has played better every year so far and there is no reason to believe he'll take a step back.  Yes he needs to work on holding onto the ball, and I believe he will have a lot of time in camp to do so.  Let's see how that 10 pounds of muscle he added helps him out.  I have no idea why you are so pessimistic about the run game. 

     

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Getzo. Show Getzo's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?


    Also... when have the Pats even tried to use a run game to play clock management, and/or tried to run the ball in big situations?  I believe Ridley was rated highly when it came to getting first downs compared to his touches.  

    I know they became more balanced last year when it came to play calling, but I believe they went to the air whenever it was crunch time. 

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from anonymis. Show anonymis's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to TFB12's comment:

    I will feel much better once Ridley takes some big shots to the head and walks away without a concussion.  I didn't like seeing him knocked cold by Pollard in the AFC Championship game.  Sometimes a guy takes a hit like that, they can be knocked easily the next time or are more vulnerable to future concussions.

     



    this is true.  recurring concussions can be bad news for any player. Look at Ted Johnson or Junior Seau.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from neinmd. Show neinmd's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to anonymis' comment:

    In response to TFB12's comment:

     

    I will feel much better once Ridley takes some big shots to the head and walks away without a concussion.  I didn't like seeing him knocked cold by Pollard in the AFC Championship game.  Sometimes a guy takes a hit like that, they can be knocked easily the next time or are more vulnerable to future concussions.

     

     



    this is true.  recurring concussions can be bad news for any player. Look at Ted Johnson or Junior Seau.

     



    There is no question that concussions take their toll cumulatively but one concussion is not the end of the road.

    I am not saying that we have conclusive proof that the Patriots will have a top-class running game but I think we can be hopeful because of the presence of good blocking tight-ends, an improving offensive line,  and other potential role players. Add to that a willingness to commit to the run game, and all that makes me hopeful. We'll see how it pans out, of course, but there is reason to be optimistic.

    Frankly, a strong running game will extend Brady's career. I don't think that's lost on management and ownership.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from TFB12. Show TFB12's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to neinmd's comment:

    There is no question that concussions take their toll cumulatively but one concussion is not the end of the road.

     



    No, but one like that where a player is knocked unconscious is a really bad start.  You ever see a fighter get knocked out the first time of their career and then are easier to get knocked out the next time and the next and so on.  Same thing here.

    If there are no signs of this being the case with Ridley then yes, I agree he will be a workhorse.  I think Bolden will get some chances this year and will prove to be a good, strong runner too.  Add Vereen to the mix and I like it, especially now that they have some experience.

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from anonymis. Show anonymis's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    vereen has to pull a faulk....and then some...

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from neinmd. Show neinmd's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to anonymis' comment:

    vereen has to pull a faulk....and then some...




    I agree that Vereen is an important contributor to the overall health of the run game. His style of running and the plays he seems to mostly run, can tire out a defense.

    I can't wait to see if this plays out the way I hope it does. I hope Thibault has a role in this as well.

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from BabeParilli. Show BabeParilli's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to Getzo's comment:

    I have no idea why you are so pessimistic about the run game. 

     




    I just gave you an idea why the run game is too often a weakness. How can you now have no idea? We can't run the ball when we NEED to.

    Of the 13 teams we played last season Ridley averaged under THREE ypc against four of them. That accounted for 3 of our 4 losses. Then he averaged under 4 ypc in the AFCCG and got knocked into da da land to cough up the ball and turn the game over to the Ravens.

    Dillon would have laughed at Pollard's hit.

    What is there to get excited about?

    Typically this team loses when we have a small lead late and neither the run nor the D can do their job. Then it's up to Brady. If he doesn't come through it's all on him and the rest of the stiffs who failed get a mulligan because we never expect anybody but Brady to actually step up and win it.

    And that's why we have about a 10% chance to win it all again. Mediocre team around a great QB. And that certainly includes the run game.

     

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from anonymis. Show anonymis's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to neinmd's comment:


    I agree that Vereen is an important contributor to the overall health of the run game. His style of running and the plays he seems to mostly run, can tire out a defense.

    I can't wait to see if this plays out the way I hope it does. I hope Thibault has a role in this as well.



    in some ways, it would be interesting if McD committed to a lead back and spelled him w/ someone w/  a different running style.  IMO, If vereen can do it all (blocking, running, play action, screens, ects....) then it makes it harder on defenses to figure out what the heck they're gonna run.  I think Vereen has better potential than Ridley...

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from mthurl. Show mthurl's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?


    I'll tell you what, I like how neinmd at least tried to break down why he thought the running attack would be so elite...that's way more than most would do. I agree with some of it - Ridley being a decent inside zone runner - and I question other parts. I think any evaluation of Vareen at this point is tough...real tough, he hasn't done anything to warrant any consideration in a improved rushing attack. I can agree that he may run outside well, but that isn't going to cut it...nor will Ridley running well inside...it's too predictable...it can be stopped, it's something you can game plan for. Now if you had two backs that could run inside and outside I'd feel a lot better about the rushing game taking the heat off of Brady and relying on it in the playoffs.

    What I see from Vareen is that he has elite receiving skills and has done a nice job adding some leg strength compared to when he first got here (when he would easily be brought down by the first arm tackle attempt he faced). There must be a reason why they drafted him in the second round, but none of that matters if he keeps getting hurt two days into camp and then misses most of the season...it's getting old. Running backs are supposed to be healthy when they are young and then start getting dinged as they get older.

    We'll see how all this stuff shakes out over the next month.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from neinmd. Show neinmd's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to mthurl's comment:


    I'll tell you what, I like how neinmd at least tried to break down why he thought the running attack would be so elite...that's way more than most would do. I agree with some of it - Ridley being a decent inside zone runner - and I question other parts. I think any evaluation of Vareen at this point is tough...real tough, he hasn't done anything to warrant any consideration in a improved rushing attack. I can agree that he may run outside well, but that isn't going to cut it...nor will Ridley running well inside...it's too predictable...it can be stopped, it's something you can game plan for. Now if you had two backs that could run inside and outside I'd feel a lot better about the rushing game taking the heat off of Brady and relying on it in the playoffs.

    What I see from Vareen is that he has elite receiving skills and has done a nice job adding some leg strength compared to when he first got here (when he would easily be brought down by the first arm tackle attempt he faced). There must be a reason why they drafted him in the first round, but none of that matters if he keeps getting hurt two days into camp and then misses most of the season...it's getting old. Running backs are supposed to be healthy when they are young and then start getting dinged as they get older.

    We'll see how all this stuff shakes out over the next month.




    Fair enough. We don't have a Marshall Faulk who could run inside or outside, and catch the ball at full speed. But we do have two guys who can do pretty much all that between them. I think we are underestimating Ballard, Gronk and Tebow's presence, as well as the maturation of a young and talented offensive line. I am a fan and I am biased but I also think this is important to extending Brady's career. So I believe management will emphasize a versatile offense, keyed off of a power running game, both inside and out. Is it possible that they don't succeed in setting the power game properly? It is, and if that happens, this will be a mediocre team. So, as a fan, I am going to assume this team will, over the course of the next several months, get there.

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from tcal2-. Show tcal2-'s posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    Our running game since Corey Dillon.  

    Laura Maroney - epic 1st round bust

    BJGE - On 1st down with the Super Bowl in grasp rushes for -1 which set into motion the events that lead to the Welker Drop.

    Ridley - fumbles away the momentum and the game in last years AFC Championship game.

     

    So it won't take much to be the best running attack in years.  

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from mthurl. Show mthurl's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to neinmd's comment:

    In response to mthurl's comment:

     


    I'll tell you what, I like how neinmd at least tried to break down why he thought the running attack would be so elite...that's way more than most would do. I agree with some of it - Ridley being a decent inside zone runner - and I question other parts. I think any evaluation of Vareen at this point is tough...real tough, he hasn't done anything to warrant any consideration in a improved rushing attack. I can agree that he may run outside well, but that isn't going to cut it...nor will Ridley running well inside...it's too predictable...it can be stopped, it's something you can game plan for. Now if you had two backs that could run inside and outside I'd feel a lot better about the rushing game taking the heat off of Brady and relying on it in the playoffs.

    What I see from Vareen is that he has elite receiving skills and has done a nice job adding some leg strength compared to when he first got here (when he would easily be brought down by the first arm tackle attempt he faced). There must be a reason why they drafted him in the first round, but none of that matters if he keeps getting hurt two days into camp and then misses most of the season...it's getting old. Running backs are supposed to be healthy when they are young and then start getting dinged as they get older.

    We'll see how all this stuff shakes out over the next month.

     




    Fair enough. We don't have a Marshall Faulk who could run inside or outside, and catch the ball at full speed. But we do have two guys who can do pretty much all that between them. I think we are underestimating Ballard, Gronk and Tebow's presence, as well as the maturation of a young and talented offensive line. I am a fan and I am biased but I also think this is important to extending Brady's career. So I believe management will emphasize a versatile offense, keyed off of a power running game, both inside and out. Is it possible that they don't succeed in setting the power game properly? It is, and if that happens, this will be a mediocre team. So, as a fan, I am going to assume this team will, over the course of the next several months, get there.

     




    Ballard, Gronk and Tebow are all question marks to me...big ones. Now I know something will work out - the coaching staff is too good and there are talented players yet to be discovered in every training camp, but putting a ton of faith in two TE's that are coming off pretty severe injuries and a backup quarterback is a reach in my opinion. Do you think Tebow is going to play tight end? I don't. I could maybe see him playing a little fullback, but I think he is best as a scrambling QB who breaks tackles when the threat to throw is there - not as a runner when the defense knows he is there to run and they don't have to worry about the pass. To me that is where he will struggle, because although as a QB he is a good runner...as a runner amongst runners, he isn't special.

    I think the whole thing will take time - it will take time for these receivers to know what is expected of them and how to beat NFL coverage. And it will take time to see how much this running game has improved. It will go a long way if Vareen could turn into a Kevin Faulk (I've said it before...once this kid gets his hands on a screen pass he will score from 80 yards away until the defense realizes the pass catching skills he has), but he needs to do it, and do it consistently.  

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from seattlepat70. Show seattlepat70's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    It's the OL that fails to open up running lanes when they badly need ground yards

     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to seattlepat70's comment:

     

    It's the OL that fails to open up running lanes when they badly need ground yards

     



     

    I tend to agree.  I think the O line is a bit overrated, both in the run game and the passing game.  It really seems to struggle against quick, athletic D linemen.  That may, in part, explain the heavy use of tactics like the shotgun and the hurry-up offense with so many quick passes.  

     

    I do agree with neinmd, though, that there are promising signs.  I think the backs are better, and offensive linemen like Solder have more athleticism (and now more experience), so there's reason to expect better things. 

     

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from neinmd. Show neinmd's posts

    Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

    In response to seattlepat70's comment:

     

    It's the OL that fails to open up running lanes when they badly need ground yards

     



     

    I tend to agree.  I think the O line is a bit overrated, both in the run game and the passing game.  It really seems to struggle against quick, athletic D linemen.  That may, in part, explain the heavy use of tactics like the shotgun and the hurry-up offense with so many quick passes.  

     

    I do agree with neinmd, though, that there are promising signs.  I think the backs are better, and offensive linemen like Solder have more athleticism (and now more experience), so there's reason to expect better things. 

     




    If Tebow would agree to play behind the QB, he could be a great toss option as well. That's his most natural role, if he can wrap his head around it. He could run with it, pass it or hand the ball off in turn. A fullback/QB would be a new wrinkle in offensive game planning.

     
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