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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. Here’€™s a breakdown of the New England offense for the 2012 regular season:

RB Stevan Ridley: 296 (290 rushes, 6 catches). 26 negative runs.
WR Wes Welker [2]: 120 (2 rush, 118 catches). 2 negative receptions.
RB Danny Woodhead [3]: 116 (76 rushes, 40 catches). 2 negative runs, 2 negative receptions.
WR Brandon Lloyd [4]: 74 (0 rushes, 74 catches).
RB Shane Vereen [5]: 70 (62 rushes, 8 catches). 3 negative runs.
RB Brandon Bolden: 58 (56 rushes, 2 catches). 10 negative runs.
TE Rob Gronkowski [6]: 55 (0 rushes, 55 catches).
TE Aaron Hernandez [7]: 52 (1 rush, 51 catches). 2 negative receptions.
WR Julian Edelman [8]: 25 (4 rushes, 21 catches). 1 negative reception, 1 negative run.
QB Tom Brady [9]: 23 (23 rushes, 0 catches.) 27 sacks, 8 kneel downs, 1 negative run.
WR Deion Branch [10]: 16 (0 rushes, 16 catches).
QB Ryan Mallett [11]: 8 (8 rushes, all kneel downs).
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 5 (0 rushes, 5 catches).
TE Daniel Fells: 4 (0 rushes, 4 catches).
TE Kellen Winslow [12]: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch).
WR Donte Stallworth: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch)
RB Lex Hilliard [13]: 1 (1 rush, 0 catches)
TOTAL: 925 touches (523 rushes, 402 catches): 50 negative plays, plus 27 sacks and 16 kneel downs.

By position
Running back: 541 touches (485 rushes, 56 catches). 41 negative runs, 2 negative receptions.
Wide receiver: 236 touches (6 rushes, 230 catches). 3 negative receptions, 1 negative run.
Tight end: 117 touches (1 rush, 116 catches). 2 negative receptions.
Quarterback: 31 touches (31 rushes, 0 catches), 1 negative run.