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Training camp preview: Running back

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  July 23, 2012 08:00 PM

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300kettani.jpg

Eric Kettani was is back with the Patriots after serving in the US Navy, but he remains a long shot to make the 53-man roster. (Associated Press)

Shalise Manza Young provides a status report on the Patriots' offensive position groups heading into the start of training camp on July 26.

Position: Running back/fullback
Current number of players: 8
Four-year average at cut to 53: 4.75
Last season at 53: 4 (plus Kevin Faulk on PUP)

Locks (2): Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen
Near-locks: None
Battling (5): Joseph Addai, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Bolden, Spencer Larsen, Tony Fiammetta
Long shots (1): Eric Kettani

53-man prediction
On the team:
Ridley, Vereen, Woodhead, Fiammetta
Cut: Addai, Bolden, Larsen, Kettani

Parting thought: Vereen is still a largely-unknown quantity at this point after missing nearly all of his rookie season, but the Pats liked him enough to make him a second-round pick in 2011. Ridley showed explosiveness in his chances last year, recording the Pats’ only runs of 20-plus yards. Woodhead saw a decline in touches, but with Josh McDaniels favoring the screen game, his ability to catch out of the backfield helps his cause. Word is Addai was not impressive in spring camps. The thinking here is one fullback makes it, and Fiammetta gets the nod; he was a help to Dallas’ young backs last year before battling illness.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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