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In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players

09.24.13 at 4:55 pm ET

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, 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. Three weeks into the regular season, here’€™s a breakdown of the New England offense for 2013:

RB Stevan Ridley: 37 (36 rushes, 1 catch), 6 negative plays, 1 fumble lost
WR Julian Edelman: 28 (1 rushes, 27 catches)
RB LeGarrette Blount: 25 (25 rushes, 0 catches), 3 negative plays
RB Shane Vereen: 21 (14 rushes, 7 catches)
QB Tom Brady: 12 (12 rushes, 0 catches), 6 sacks, 7 kneeldowns, 1 fumble lost
WR Danny Amendola: 10 (0 rushes, 10 catches)
WR Aaron Dobson: 10 (0 rushes, 10 catches)
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 9 (0 rushes, 9 catches)
RB Brandon Bolden: 8 (3 rushes, 5 catches)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 3 (0 rushes, 3 catch)
RB Leon Washington: 1 (1 rush, 0 catches)
FB James Develin: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch)

Some offensive notes: Overall, the Patriots were in the shotgun for 35 of their 72 snaps against the Bucs. The 49 percent rate was tied with the season opener against the Bills, when they were in shotgun on 44 of their 89 plays. On the season, New England has been in the shotgun for 103 of their 225 offensive snaps, a rate of 46 percent. ‘€¦ When it comes to no-huddle, against Tampa Bay the Patriots used it on just four of their 72 plays from scrimmage, a season-low. On the year, the Patriots have operated out of a no-huddle on 17 of the 225 plays from scrimmage, a rate of 8 percent. That’€™s a sizable step down from the last two years when they averaged 25 percent during the regular season. (Through three games last year, New England was in the no-huddle for 70 of its 222 plays, a rate of 31 percent.) ‘€¦ We covered some of this here, but it bears repeating that for all the talk of New England’€™s uptempo offense and how it changed the game the last few seasons, the Patriots have actually run more plays through three games this season than they did last year (225 to 222). It will be interesting to see how those numbers change over the rest of the year, but right now, they’€™re on pace to just barely break the NFL record for most offensive plays in a season — 1,199, set by the 1994 Patriots. ‘€¦ Patriots have run 225 offensive plays this year in three games. Not counting kneeldowns, 15 have been for negative yardage. Not counting Brady’€™s three game-ending kneeldowns on Sunday, the Patriots had five negative plays on the day against Tampa — one each from Ridley and Blount, as well as three sacks of Brady.

For more offensive notes on the Patriots through three games, click HERE. And for a look at the offensive opportunities through three games last year, click HERE.

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