FOXBORO, Mass. — One by one the New England Patriots’ running back room has dwindled this season.
Plagued by injury from the outset, the Patriots have lost Jeremy Hill, Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel to a variety of injuries so far this season. Hill is out for the season with a torn ACL and Burkhead was placed on injured reserve Sept. 26 with a neck injury.
Michel, who played well in his last three games before suffering a knee injury in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears, missed Monday night’s game against the Bills and was limited in practice Wednesday. He is considered week-to-week.
With those three backs injured, that leaves James White and Kenjon Barner as the only two backs on the 53-man roster. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson started at running back in the Patriots’ 25-6 win over the Buffalo Bills.
White is on pace for a historic season through eight games, and although more will be expected of him with Michel out, the Wisconsin product isn’t feeling the weight of added expectations.
“I don’t put any pressure on myself,” White said Wednesday after practice. “I just go out there and do my normal job, no matter if it’s one back or 10 backs out there. Just execute to the best of my abilities and put my best foot forward.”
The 26-year-old has always delivered on that promise during his Patriots tenure and this season has been no different. Through eight games, White has caught 55 passes for 459 yards and six touchdowns, while also running for 204 yards and two scores.
Following the Patriots’ Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions, quarterback Tom Brady noted he wanted White to see more of the field, clearly relaying his trust in the fourth-year back. The faith was well placed, as the elusive back has become arguably the most important piece of New England’s offense during their five-game winning streak, accounting for 472 total yards and five touchdowns during that stretch.