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In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players

Every week over the course of the regular 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 [1], 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. Nine weeks into the regular season, here’€™s a breakdown of the New England offense for 2012:

RB Stevan Ridley: 178 (172 rushes, 6 catches). 20 negative runs.
RB Danny Woodhead [2]: 73 (50 rushes, 23 catches). 2 negative runs, 1 negative reception.
WR Wes Welker [3]: 66 (0 rushes, 66 catches). 2 negative receptions.
TE Rob Gronkowski [4]: 46 (0 rushes, 46 catches).
RB Brandon Bolden: 45 (43 rushes, 2 catches). 7 negative runs.
WR Brandon Lloyd [5]: 42 (0 rushes, 42 catches).
RB Shane Vereen [6]: 26 (22 rushes, 4 catches). 2 negative run
TE Aaron Hernandez [7]: 18 (1 rush, 17 catches). 1 negative reception
WR Julian Edelman [8]: 15 (2 rushes, 13 catches). 1 negative reception, 1 negative run.
QB Tom Brady [9]: 12 (12 rushes, 0 catches.) 15 sacks and 6 kneel downs.
WR Deion Branch [10]: 9 (0 rushes, 9 catches)
QB Ryan Mallett [11]: 3 (3 rushes, all kneel downs)
TE Daniel Fells: 2 (0 rushes, 2 catches)
TE Kellen Winslow [12]: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 2 (0 rushes, 2 catches)

TOTAL: 538 touches (305 rushes, 233 catches): 37 negative plays, plus 15 sacks and nine kneel downs.

By position
Running back: 322 touches (287 rushes, 35 catches). 31 negative runs, 1 negative reception.
Wide receiver: 132 touches (2 rushes, 130 catches). 3 negative receptions, 1 negative run.
Tight end: 69 touches (1 rush, 68 catches). 1 negative reception.
Quarterback: 15 touches (15 rushes, 0 catches)