The Arsenal of Running Backs In New England

Daniel DinunzioAnalyst IJune 1, 2009

FOXBOROUGH - MAY 2: Coach Bill Bellichick watches during the New England Patriots Minicamp at Gillette Stadium May 2, 2009 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

There's a lot of questions surrounding the ground game of the New England Patriots.  They have a lot of different running backs and with such a potent passing attack it makes you wonder who's going to get the majority of the carries? 

Lets take a closer look at the options and where they standing going into training camp.

The favorite has to be Fred Taylor.  He was signed in free agency after spending his entire career with the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Labeled by many as "fragile Fred", if he's in the right shape and has the mindset he could be seeing a lot of action on the field, he could be dangerous.  He's a proven running back who hits the hole hard and isn't easy to take down.

Then there is Sammy Morris.  Morris had a productive season last year but was hampered by a knee injury that caused him to miss five games.  Morris is also a strong downfield runner who can also catch passes out of the backfield.  He came over from the Miami Dolphins last year and was probably the best option out of all the running backs.  Belichick likes his style and work ethic on and off the field.

Let's not forget about good old Kevin Faulk.  He has and most likely will still be the reliable third down back he's always been.  He's able to catch the ball out of the shotgun or take a draw handoff.  He does whatever it takes to move the chains.  He's experienced and is the ultimate team player.  He makes significant contributions on special teams and is the definition of what a New England Patriot player is.

Next is Laurence Maroney.  He's never lived up to the expectation and praise he was given coming out of college.  His college roommate Marion Barber has been far more successful then Maroney who has had numerous injuries of late.

Many thought he was going to have a breakout year last season, but that didn't happen.  An apparent shoulder injury landed him on injury reserve after Week 3.  His season was done and contributed to the long list of Patriots players that were injured last year. 

Who knows? Maybe this is his breakout year?  It all will depend on if he's dedicated and committed to put in the work, time, and effort it takes to be a successful running back in the NFL.

Maybe the most undervalued back in New England is Ben-Jarvus Green Ellis.  A strong runner who had a couple 100-yard games last season when his number was called upon.  Due to injuries this guy got his time to shine and he took advantage of it.

Green-Ellis was also a tough runner in short yardage and goal line situations.  Coach Belichick liked him early on in the preseason and his work ethic and perseverance paid off with the playing time he received in the 2008 season.

The offensive coaching staff has a lot of options when it comes to throwing the ball out of the backfield or handing it off.  There's a bunch of guys fighting for the spots to get on the field and showcase their talents as running backs.

There's a lot of different scenarios that could play out, but the reason they have OTA's, minicamps, and training camp is to find out who wants it the most and what player will fit the team the best at his positions.

The running back of this New England Patriot team to me is the most intriguing and will be interesting to see how it plays out.  Who knows what Bill Belichick will do.  Stay tuned I'm sure all of these guys will touch the ball at some time during the season in some way, shape, or form.


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