There’s reason to be hopeful about the Patriots offense in the upcoming season, and we’re not just referring to New England’s recent quarterback decision.
Bill Belichick’s team features some of the best running back depth in all of football. New England’s backfield was so crowded this summer it traded away Sony Michel, a 2018 first-rounder who rushed for over 900 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons.
The 2021 Patriots’ stable of backs is headlined by Damien Harris and also boasts the sure-handed James White and a potential star in the making, Rhamondre Stevenson. ESPN’s NFL insider Dan Graziano believes this group could help New England lead the league in rushing this season.
“They love their offensive line. They love their defense,” Graziano wrote. “They believe they have tremendous depth at running back with Damien Harris, James White, J.J. Taylor and preseason standout Rhamondre Stevenson. Rookie first-round pick Mac Jones — named the starter on Tuesday — can sling it, no doubt. But the Patriots’ identity is likely to be the run game. And if they’re good enough that the offense is playing with the lead more often than not, they will lean on it hard.
“Bonus note: They like Harris a lot, but not so much in the passing game. Don’t be surprised if we’re sitting here a year from now talking about Stevenson, who rushed for 216 yards in the preseason, as the lead back in this offense.”
Should New England run wild like Graziano expects, and the defense plays to its highest potential, the Patriots will be a very tough out this season.
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