Since the start Training Camp, theres been a lot of conversation about what the Patriots will do at running back.
At this point, as Tom E. Curran notes, it looks like Stevan Ridleys job to lose, but regardless of who starts whether its Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead or Marion Butts the Pats RB picture is cloudier than its been in years.
For all that Benjarvus Green-Ellis wasnt, he was the starting running back. For two years. Now, not only has BJGE fled to Cincinnati, but the Pats dont have anyone to replace him. Not in the general sense, but specifically. Green-Ellis was a head-down, no-frills running back. He was Antowain Smith. And that kind of player no longer exists on the Pats roster (unless they go with Butts). In a way, thats slightly concerning, but more than anything, its exciting.
With more dynamic runners at their disposal and a dynamic offensive mind pulling the strings, theres a chance that the Pats a have real dynamic backfield. (Did I say dynamic?) It could add a very powerful dimension to an offense that has already ranked first and third in the NFL over the last two years. And thats the best part:
Regardless of what happens with this running game, the Pats offense is going to be all right.
Even in the worst case scenario: Let's say, Ridley can't hold onto the ball, Vereen doesn't pan out, Woodhead gets hurt . . . and in a bind, the Pats have to sign Sammie Morris and Larry Johnson to fill out the backfield. The Patriots offense is still a force to be reckoned with. Give me McDaniel, Brady, Welker, Lloyd, Gronk and Hernandez, plus any halway decent NFL RB and the Pats are still one of the Super Bowl favorites.
To that, you can say: Well, what happens when it's snowy and cold and the Pats need a guy to grind the ball on the ground?
To that, I'll say: Are you kidding? If anything, the Pats throw MORE when it's cold and snowy. This is an all conditions offense. One that's not so dependent on a running game.
This is comforting, since we're still not sure if the Patriots have one.
But I've got a good feeling that they do.