This year, just one of those backs remains on the roster in Sammy Morris, who led the team with 727 in 2007.
Simply put, the days of Sam “Bam” Cunningham or Curtis Martin are long gone, and those days of ground-game grinders certainly aren’t coming back this calender year.
Laurence Maroney, who led the team in rushing in 2009 and 2006, was shipped off to Denver two weeks ago. Corey Dillon, who bagged a team-high 812 rushing yards in 2006, retired after that season.
Through three games this season, it’s been an unlikely (and lengthy) name leading the way in BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who has 139 yards on 31 carries. Trailing him is a banged–up Fred Taylor, who was able to grab 98 yards on 25 carries in the first three weeks before leaving Sunday’s tilt with a toe injury.
As if the football world didn’t know, Tom Brady‘s offense is pass-friendly. And when they do dabble in the running game, the touches are generally divided between at least three rushers.
To put it into comparison, the NFL’s leading rusher Arian Foster, has 406 rushing yards thus far. Adrian Peterson is right behind him with 392 rushing yards. The Pats have a combined 370 rushing yards, which is spread out between nine different players — four of which who aren’t even running backs.
But as seen on Sunday, the ground game can be effective. Green-Ellis’ 98 yards led all rushers on the day, besting even the Bills trio of top-notch rushers C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch. Danny Woodhead came off the bench for 42 yards and a touchdown and appears to be a reliable addition to the backfield.