Cordarrelle Patterson probably isn’t too well-liked among New York Jets defenders after his cup check on Henry Anderson this past Sunday, but he’s a very popular figure in the New England Patriots’ locker room.
That’s according to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who raved Tuesday about what New England’s wide receiver/kick returner/running back extraordinaire has brought to the team this season.
“CP has a great attitude,” McDaniels said in a conference call with reporters. “He’s a fun guy to be around in general terms. I think he likes playing football, enjoys preparing each week and embraces any role we give him — which we’ve obviously given him a number of different things to do to help our team, and he’s embraced every one of them.
“He’s a guy who works hard, he’s smart, he’s got a positive attitude. I think there’s not a guy in our building that doesn’t like CP. (He’s) just a good guy to be around, a good positive energy and really has done a good job of being an unselfish teammate.”
The Patriots have utilized Patterson’s unselfishness and versatility to full effect this season, making him their unlikely No. 1 running back after Sony Michel went down with a knee injury in Week 7.
Patterson, who’d made cameos in the backfield for the Oakland Raiders last season but had never been a team’s top rushing option, impressed in that role in Michel’s absence, carrying the ball 21 times for 99 yards with a touchdown in wins over the Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers.
“We’ve asked this guy to do everything from run the ball, to goal line, to line up in the backfield and block people, to catch passes and return kicks — you guys know all the things he’s done,” McDaniels said. “He’s been a versatile contributor, always with a great outlook on the week and wants to help in any way that he can, which is the sign of an unselfish guy that really wants to do what’s best for the team.”
Michel returned to the lineup in Week 10, but Patterson — the only player in the NFL with a rushing, receiving and kick return touchdown this season — has continued to take periodic handoffs. He got the call in multiple short-yardage situations during Sunday’s 27-13 win over the Jets, converting on a third-and-1 and a fourth-and-1 before being stuffed at the goal line.
“He’s a big, strong kid that has good balance,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday. “We’ve all seen him get hit, and he can kind of step through some arm tackles and guys diving around his legs. (If) they hit him up high, he’s got good leg strength and can drive through the tackle and gain positive yardage. He’s a strong runner.”
Though he’s clearly impressed his coaches, Patterson’s ball-carrying opportunities could be sparse moving forward with running back Rex Burkhead now back from injured reserve. Burkhead, who had been out since Week 3 with a neck injury, rejoined the 53-man roster Monday and is expected to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images