Re: Patriots 2013 Edition - Could this be the best running attack in years?
posted at 7/25/2013 11:16 PM EDT
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.