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CWood21

Training Camp Battle: Running Backs

16 posts in this topic

CWood21    66

Maybe it's because the Patriots are in a similar position to the Packers where they lack a clear feature RB, but the Patriots right now have four RBs with cap hits of at least $1.5M on the roster.  You've got Mike Gillislee who signed a 2 year, $6.4M deal this offseason, Rex Burkhead who signed a 1 year, $3.15M deal this offseason, and James White who signed a 3 year, $12M deal.  Last years leading rusher, LeGarrett Blount signed with the Eagles and their 2nd leading rusher, Dion Lewis, has the 4th highest cap hit.  Does that mean they're carrying four RBs, or does one of their offseason signings end up getting released during preseason.  This is an interesting battle to watch as the season starts up.

Who wins the RB position to start the season?  And what are your expectations for them?  @Deadpulse @Pats#1

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Deadpulse    64

Most of what I have heard is that Gillislee is slated for the early down role that has been dubbed by the media as the "Blount Role". White is the pass back and Lewis is likely the change of pace while Burkhead is mixed in as a jack of all trade kinda guy. I do expect them to carry all four or potentially trade Lewis before the season starts. Bolden is a likely cap casualty. 

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CWood21    66
34 minutes ago, Deadpulse said:

Most of what I have heard is that Gillislee is slated for the early down role that has been dubbed by the media as the "Blount Role". White is the pass back and Lewis is likely the change of pace while Burkhead is mixed in as a jack of all trade kinda guy. I do expect them to carry all four or potentially trade Lewis before the season starts. Bolden is a likely cap casualty. 

Yeah, I didn't have much expectations that Bolden would make the team out of camp.  Just too far outside in the numbers game.  Really didn't mind the Gillislee offer sheet given that he had good success in limited exposure for Buffalo.  Even though Bill has never been shy about giving up a draft pick for a veteran, I thought the concept of giving up a 5th round pick for a back who was never more than a spot runner to be a bit curious.  Would make sense if he was the "main" back.

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Deadpulse    64

Gillislee is the next guy in the long line of guys that have played well against the Patriots consistently so BB wants him. The Welker/Hogan model of player acquisition. 

Personally I'd like to see Rex get a big role. I liked him coming out of college and Bengals fans seem unanimously pissed that he left Cinci before the coaches gave him a legitimate chance to get carries. 

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CWood21    66
10 hours ago, Deadpulse said:

Gillislee is the next guy in the long line of guys that have played well against the Patriots consistently so BB wants him. The Welker/Hogan model of player acquisition. 

Personally I'd like to see Rex get a big role. I liked him coming out of college and Bengals fans seem unanimously pissed that he left Cinci before the coaches gave him a legitimate chance to get carries. 

And that may very well be the case.  I do believe he's going to be the "feature" back for a lack of a better term.  And Rex seems like one of those jack-of-all-trades, king of none RB.  They'll bring him in since he's versatile enough in enough roles, but I don't think he'll ever get a significant amount of touches.

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I_GET_SAX    8

Dion Lewis has highest chance of being released imo. James White has improved so much that he makes Lewis expendable. White, Gilleslee and Burkhead will be a productive and fun three headed monster from the backfield. Also think having a healthy Gronk and Dwayne Allen will improve running game. Also another year of Scar.

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dhunt2402    5
15 hours ago, I_GET_SAX said:

Dion Lewis has highest chance of being released imo. James White has improved so much that he makes Lewis expendable. White, Gilleslee and Burkhead will be a productive and fun three headed monster from the backfield. Also think having a healthy Gronk and Dwayne Allen will improve running game. Also another year of Scar.

I'd agree with that. Hopefully if they see it going down that path they're able to trade him before the end of preseason, some team will definitely see value there.

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Bednarik60    182

I think Gilleslee starts and gets a few more carries a game but not many like 1-4 then White and Burkhead but for the most part it will be pretty evenly split in terms of carries/time played. 

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I'm not in the "Lewis is likely to be cut" camp. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Patriots are undefeated in games Lewis is healthy. He was recovering from an injury last year and will be leaned on a lot less, but is the perfect change of pace type back to keep around.

 I'm not sold on DJ Foster. 

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I don't see Bolden being a cap-casualty at all. BB prizes his ST guys, and Bolden/Ebner/Slater are locks for that role. The Pats' ST coverage is always good and usually among the best, and Bolden is a big reason for that lately.

They'll likely carry 4 RBs plus Develin and Bolden, so it'll be White/Burkhead/Gillislee and one of Lewis, Foster or a new rookie.

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Deadpulse    64

With all the talk of the Blount Role and the like, this is music to my ears:

 

"I think (Rex) Burkhead has ability on all four downs. I think (Mike) Gillislee maybe has a little more overall versatility," the coach said. "So hopefully with our backs this year we'll have a little more balance and be a little less predictable from that spot."

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Hunter2_1    19
Posted (edited)
On 25/07/2017 at 3:50 AM, I_GET_SAX said:

Dion Lewis has highest chance of being released imo. James White has improved so much that he makes Lewis expendable. White, Gilleslee and Burkhead will be a productive and fun three headed monster from the backfield. Also think having a healthy Gronk and Dwayne Allen will improve running game. Also another year of Scar.

I agree but have you seen our winning % when Dion plays? Could be wrong, but I think it's 100%. It's obviously not all down to him, but I think he offers a very good option for Brady and he has a knack of picking up the 1D. 

I think out of all of them, we could see Rex on the bubble. White stays, Gillislee gets a shot and I think Lewis has earned his spot. 

Edit: OK having read that above quote, I'm entirely unsure now. All stay.

Edited by Hunter2_1

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Deadpulse    64
6 hours ago, Hunter2_1 said:

I agree but have you seen our winning % when Dion plays? Could be wrong, but I think it's 100%.

This gets talked about entirely too much. Lets look at his game log for some of those wins last season:

Week 10 @ SF he had 23 rushing yards and 26 receiving yards

Week 11 @ NYJ he had 24 and 34 yards

Week 12 was 27 and 11

Week 13 was 14 and 5

Weeks 14 to  16 he had some relevant numbers like 95 yard rushing day and two around 50. 

We all remember the playoff game versus Houston where he had a rushing, receiving and returning TD however his yardage total remained sub par at 41 and 23

In the AFC championship game against the Steelers he had 11 rushing yards and 8 receiving yards

In the Superbowl he was 27 and 2 for rushing and receiving. 

 

Out of the ten games he played in this season, he had a meaningful contribution to about 2-3 wins. If anything, his sporadic involvement in the offense could signal him as being expendable. 

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Hunter2_1    19

Given the way we utilise our running game (i.e sometimes not at all), you could say that about all our backs, couldn't you? Apart from White in the SB where had an outrageous game.

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Deadpulse    64
1 minute ago, Hunter2_1 said:

Given the way we utilise our running game (i.e sometimes not at all), you could say that about all our backs, couldn't you? Apart from White in the SB where had an outrageous game.

You certainly can. My point is Dion's winning percentage as a Patriots really has no bearing on his actual value to the team. 

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