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

10.13.11 at 3:44 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. Five weeks into the season, here’€™s a breakdown of the New England offense for 2011:

BenJarvus Green Ellis: 80 (77 carries, 3 receptions) five touchdowns ‘€” four negative plays
Wes Welker: 46 (1 carry, 45 receptions) five touchdowns
Danny Woodhead: 32 (26 carries, 6 receptions) zero touchdowns
Stevan Ridley: 27 (25 carries, 2 reception), one touchdown ‘€” one negative play
Deion Branch: 23 (0 carries, 23 receptions), two touchdowns
Rob Gronkowski: 22 (0 carries, 22 receptions), five touchdowns
Aaron Hernandez: 19 (0 carries, 19 receptions), two touchdowns
Chad Ochocinco: 9 (0 carries, 9 receptions), zero touchdowns
Julian Edelman: 6 (3 carries, 3 receptions) zero touchdowns ‘€” two negative plays, both runs
Tom Brady: 6 (6 carries, 0 receptions) 14 passing touchdowns, zero rushing touchdowns ‘€” eight negative plays (all sacks)
Matthew Slater: 1 (0 carries, 1 reception) zero touchdowns

TOTAL: 271 touches (138 carries, 133 receptions) on 342 plays from scrimmage ‘€” 15 negative plays (excluding kneeldowns).

Some more offensive notes: Green-Ellis had more touches on Sunday against the Jets than any other offensive skill position player had all season, finishing the game with 27 carries. ‘€¦ Last Sunday’€™s game against the Jets marked the first game all year where the Patriots ran the ball more than they threw it (35 rushing attempts, 33 pass attempts). ‘€¦ Over the first five games of the season, the Patriots have run 342 plays from scrimmage. According to official NFL gamebooks, New England has utilized the no-huddle offense for 74 snaps (27 plays against the Dolphins, 15 against the Chargers, 12 against the Bills, five times against the Raiders and 15 times against the Jets), or 21.6 percent of the time. (For more on the Patriots’€™ use of the no huddle, check out my story on that here.)

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



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