A whole lot is being made of what the New England Patriots currently lack on offense.
Outside of Julian Edelman, the Patriots don’t feature any above-average wide receivers on their depth chart, as we’ll have to wait and see what rookie N’Keal Harry brings to the table. The same can be said — and probably even more so — at tight end, where Rob Gronkowski left quite a void via his retirement.
But what New England lacks in those areas, it makes up for in another. The reigning Super Bowl champions are absolutely loaded at running back, and Nate Burleson would go as far to say the unit will be the “most electrifying” position group in the upcoming NFL season.
“I don’t think there’s another group that you can watch each week and not know where the ball is going,” Burleson said Monday on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.” “Sony Michel, James White’s fantastic, Rex Burkhead is fantastic. Damien Harris, he was Alabama’s leading rusher last year. So I think maybe the Buffalo Bills have a running back room where you can say, ‘Who’s gonna get the ball?’ Bigger names, older guys, though. When it comes to variety being the spice of life, you can’t call it who’s gonna get the ball for this team (Patriots).”
Burleson hit the nail on the head, as the Patriots’ offensive game plan likely will look vastly different from week to week. Just look at last season, for example. Michel’s regular-season high for carries (25) came in Week 4 when he dashed for 112 yards a touchdown. The following week, White logged a regular-season high with 10 catches out of the backfield for 77 yards with a score. New England’s running backs collectively can trouble an opponent in a number of ways, and it’s near-impossible to completely subdue the entire group.
A versatile running back has been a staple in the Patriots’ system throughout the Bill Belichick era. But with four backs who all possess dual-threat abilities, the 2019 RB grouping very well could be New England’s best in the past two decades.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images