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In Focus: Charting the offensive opportunities for the Patriots’ skill position players through four games

10.06.11 at 8:53 pm ET

Every week over the course of the 2011 NFL season, we’€™ll present a list of the Patriots’€™ ‘€œoffensive touches,’€ a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our weekly look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. Four weeks into the season, here’€™s a breakdown of the New England offense for 2011:

BenJarvus Green Ellis: 51 (50 carries, 2 receptions) three touchdowns ‘€” three negative plays
Wes Welker: 41 (1 carry, 40 receptions) five touchdowns
Danny Woodhead: 32 (26 carries, 6 receptions) zero touchdowns
Stevan Ridley: 21 (18 carries, 2 reception), one touchdown
Rob Gronkowski: 18 (0 carries, 18 receptions), five touchdowns
Deion Branch: 16 (0 carries, 16 receptions), one touchdown
Aaron Hernandez: 14 (0 carries, 14 receptions), two touchdowns
Chad Ochocinco: 7 (0 carries, 7 receptions), zero touchdowns
Julian Edelman: 6 (3 carries, 3 receptions) zero touchdowns ‘€” two negative plays, both runs
Tom Brady: 5 (5 carries, 0 receptions) 13 passing touchdowns, zero rushing touchdowns ‘€” three negative plays (all sacks)
Matthew Slater: 1 (0 carries, 1 reception) zero touchdowns

TOTAL: 212 touches (103 carries, 109 receptions) ‘€” eight negative plays (excluding kneeldowns).

Some more offensive notes: Ridley was the big mover on this week’s board, as he had a game-high 11 touches against the Raiders to move from 10 to 21 on the season. Fellow back Green-Ellis maintained his overall lead on the rest of the field with 16 carries and one reception, his second-best day on the season when it comes to overall offensive opportunities (he had 17 carries and a catch earlier in the season against San Diego). … Last Sunday’s game against the Raiders marked the first game all year where the Patriots ran the ball as often as they threw it (30 rushing attempts, 30 pass attempts). … Brady has actually been sacked four times this season, but the one sack he took against the Raiders was technically for no gain, so it doesn’t count as a negative play. … The Patriots have run 270 plays from scrimmage over the course of the first four games. According to official NFL gamebooks, New England has utilized the no-huddle for 59 snaps (27 plays in the no-huddle against the Dolphins, 15 against the Chargers, 12 against the Bills and 5 times against the Raiders), or 21 percent. … On Sunday against Oakland, the Patriots only went no-huddle on their final drive of the first half. In their two-minute offense with Chad Ochocinco on the field, New England used no-huddle on five of the 11 plays on a sequence that ended with a 44-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski. … All five of the negative plays (the non-sacks) have come in the running game ‘€” both of Edelman’€™s two negative runs came when lined up as a running back.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, BenJarvus Green Ellis, Chad Ochocinco, Danny Woodhead



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