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In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players

Every week, we 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 postseason:

RB Stevan Ridley: 34 (33 rushes, 1 catch), 3 negative runs
RB Shane Vereen [2]: 18 (11 rushes, 7 catches), 1 negative runs
WR Wes Welker [3]: 16 (0 rushes, 16 catches)
TE Aaron Hernandez [4]: 16 (1 rush, 15 catches)
WR Brandon Lloyd [5]: 12 (0 rushes, 12 catches)
RB Danny Woodhead [6]: 5 (4 rushes, 1 catch)
QB Tom Brady [7]: 3 (3 rushes), 1 sack, 1 kneel down
WR Deion Branch [8]: 2 (0 rushes, 2 catches)
TOTAL: 106 touches (52 rushes, 54 catches), 4 negative plays, plus 1 sack and 1 kneel down

By position:
Running back: 57 touches (48 rushes, 9 catches), 4 negative runs
Wide receiver: 30 touches (0 rushes, 30 catches)
Tight end: 16 touches (1 rush, 15 catches)
Quarterback: 3 (3 rushes)

Here’s a look at how the offensive opportunities broke down over the course of the 2012 regular season.