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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 2012 regular season:

WR Wes Welker [1]: 118 catches on 175 targets
WR Brandon Lloyd [2]: 74 catches on 131 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski [3]: 55 catches on 79 targets
TE Aaron Hernandez [4]: 51 catches on 83 targets
RB Danny Woodhead [5]: 40 catches on 55 targets
WR Julian Edelman [6]: 21 catches on 32 targets
WR Deion Branch [7]: 16 catches on 29 targets
RB Shane Vereen [8]: Eight catches on 13 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: Six catches on 14 targets
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: Five catches on seven targets
TE Daniel Fells: Four catches on 10 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: 402 catches on 635 targets

By position
Wide receiver: 230 catches on 369 targets
Tight end: 116 catches on 182 targets
Running back: 56 catches on 84 targets

By way of comparison, here’s a look at how targets in the New England passing game have broken down since 2009