I am a Die Hard New England Patriots fan, but there are some things about the 2008-09 Patriots that bother me. Yes Tom Brady is gone, i'm over that. Matt Cassel hasn't done anything too terrible yet for me to be worried about him. His is not Tom Brady so don't expect the score to be 42-7 every game. The thing that worries me the most is the running game.
Many coaches have stated that without a run game you cannot win. That might not have been the case last year with the Pats but it won't happen again. With Tom Brady gone and an unproven Quarterback at the helm they cannot stand up against top notch team just by passing. There has to be ground support. The Patriots have four good backs that they need to use in order to win.
Laurence Maroney. In Maroney's first season as a Patriot he showed flashes of promise. Last year also, like in the Miami game where he burst through the line for 50+ yard dashes to paydirt. He has the speed and agility to become a great back in the NFL. But, ENDURANCE/TOUGHNESS. So far he hasn't proved he can stay healthy. I'm not belittling the tremendous hits he receives almost on a daily basis but other backs have withstood much worse. Look at Emmitt Smith and Gale Sayers of the past, they were consistently there for their team. Maroney has had too many injuries. If and when he is 100% the defense will be scared but until then, not so much.
Sammy Morris. Sammy Morris is my kind of guy. He doesn't start much but he is always good when he is in. He converted from a Fullback hybrid type of back in Miami to a Halfback in New England. He had many great games last year but his season was cut short with a chest injury. I believe that if he had played in the Super Bowl the Patriots would have had a more balanced offense so that the Giants wouldn't have been able to blitz everyone on every play. With Maroney ailing again this year Morris can and will pick up the slack.
Kevin Faulk. What can you not say about Kevin Faulk. He always makes the clutch diving catch or draw for 10+ yards on 3rd down. He is good at pass blocking and no one can or will replace him. He never has 100 yards rushing or receiving in games but he is more important to the Patriots than stats. He is an old vet who knows what he is doing. Kevin Faulk will continue to do what he has this year.
Lamont Jordan. Lamont Jordan is a tough back that can be relied upon when Morris and Maroney don't show up. He runs hard and runs over people. He is a good short distance back and reliever for the starters.
Heath Evans. Since coming to New England Heath Evans has made a name for himself in the league as a Fullback. He is a very good running the ball in short distances and even better at run blocking. He will block anyone that goes in the hole where his runningback is supposed to go. He is a dedicated smash-mouth football player.
All of these afore mentioned running backs are very good at what they do.What makes them even better is the line. If the line opens holes, the running backs will run through them. So far the line has had its ups and downs opening up holes. It is a joint effort between the line, the ends, and the runningbacks and they will only succeed if they all work together.
If the Patriots can get the Run game going then they will do better this year and take the pressure off their unexperienced Quarterback.