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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. Twelve games into the regular season, here’€™s a breakdown of the New England offense for 2012:

RB Stevan Ridley: 218 (212 rushes, 6 catches). 23 negative runs.
WR Wes Welker [2]: 85 (0 rushes, 85 catches). 2 negative receptions.
RB Danny Woodhead [3]: 84 (58 rushes, 26 catches). 2 negative runs, 1 negative reception.
WR Brandon Lloyd [4]: 50 (0 rushes, 50 catches).
TE Rob Gronkowski [5]: 46 (0 rushes, 46 catches).
RB Brandon Bolden: 45 (43 rushes, 2 catches). 7 negative runs.
RB Shane Vereen [6]: 41 (35 rushes, 6 catches). 3 negative run.
TE Aaron Hernandez [7]: 28 (1 rush, 27 catches). 1 negative reception.
WR Julian Edelman [8]: 19 (3 rushes, 16 catches). 1 negative reception, 1 negative run.
QB Tom Brady [9]: 19 (19 rushes, 0 catches.) 19 sacks, 8 kneel downs, 1 negative run.
WR Deion Branch [10]: 9 (0 rushes, 9 catches).
QB Ryan Mallett [11]: 5 (5 rushes, all kneel downs).
TE Daniel Fells: 3 (0 rushes, 3 catches).
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 2 (0 rushes, 2 catches).
TE Kellen Winslow [12]: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch).
TOTAL: 655 touches (376 rushes, 279 catches): 42 negative plays, plus 19 sacks and 13 kneel downs.

By position
Running back: 388 touches (348 rushes, 40 catches). 35 negative runs, 1 negative reception.
Wide receiver: 163 touches (3 rushes, 160 catches). 3 negative receptions, 1 negative run.
Tight end: 80 touches (1 rush, 79 catches). 1 negative reception.
Quarterback: 24 touches (24 rushes, 0 catches), 1 negative run.