With training camp getting underway for the New England Patriots, Sunday marked the first time the team was in full pads — and the first time the team worked on goal-line running.
The Pats boast a stable corps of running backs including Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and LeGarrette Blount, but the question of who will become the Pats’ dependable short yardage specialist in the 2013 season is still undecided.
Ridley was one of the best running backs in the NFL last season, racking up 1,263 total yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. The 5’11, 250-pound back has the ability to either run through or around a defender, but ball security has been an issue for Ridley in the past. He fumbled three times in two games last December, but Ridley is projected to be the lead back in 2013.
The Patriots traded for Blount during this year’s NFL draft, and the former Buccaneers tailback brings his strong, physical skills to New England. The 26-year-old is one of the bigger backs in the league, and coming in at 6-feet and 247 pounds, he marks the biggest running back the Pats have had on their roster in nearly a decade.
Vereen brings versatility to the field as he can play on any down and he can play some wideout, but he is naturally a third-down running back. With Rob Gronkowski sidelined and Aaron Hernandez released from the team, Vereen may see more snaps out wide at receiver this season, but he could still make a dent as the Pats’ third-down back.