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Target Practice: Tracking opportunities in Patriots passing game

Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains an imperfect stat ‘€” a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback ‘€” it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. Here’€™s a look at the target breakdown for the New England passing game through the first 14 games of the 2012 regular season:

WR Wes Welker [1]: 100 catches on 151 targets
WR Brandon Lloyd [2]: 67 catches on 114 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski [3]: 53 catches on 75 targets
TE Aaron Hernandez [4]: 45 catches on 70 targets
RB Danny Woodhead [5]: 33 catches on 45 targets
WR Julian Edelman [6]: 21 catches on 32 targets
WR Deion Branch [7]: 13 catches on 25 targets
RB Shane Vereen [8]: Eight catches on 13 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: Six catches on 13 targets
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: Three catches on four targets
TE Daniel Fells: Three catches on nine targets
RB Brandon Bolden: Two catches on two targets
TE Kellen Winslow [9]: One catch on two targets
WR Donte’€™ Stallworth: One catch on two targets
TE Visanthe Shiancoe: Zero catches on one target
TOTALS: 356 catches on 558 targets

By position
Wide receiver: 202 catches on 324 targets
Tight end: 105 catches on 161 targets
Running back: 49 catches on 73 targets

By way of comparison, here’s a look at targets through 14 games last season. [10]