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In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players

10.01.13 at 3:45 pm ET
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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. Four weeks into the regular season, here’€™s a breakdown of the New England offense for 2013:

RB Stevan Ridley: 50 (47 rushes, 3 catches), 7 negative plays, 1 fumble lost
WR Julian Edelman: 35 (1 rushes, 34 catches)
RB LeGarrette Blount: 34 (34 rushes, 0 catches), 4 negative plays
RB Shane Vereen: 21 (14 rushes, 7 catches)
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 15 (0 rushes, 15 catches)
RB Brandon Bolden: 15 (9 rushes, 6 catches), 1 negative reception
QB Tom Brady: 17 (17 rushes, 0 catches), 6 sacks, 10 kneeldowns, 2 fumbles lost
WR Aaron Dobson: 11 (0 rushes, 11 catches)
WR Danny Amendola: 10 (0 rushes, 10 catches)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 3 (0 rushes, 3 catches)
FB James Develin: 2 (0 rushes, 2 catches)
RB Leon Washington: 1 (1 rush, 0 catches)
TE Matthew Mulligan: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch)
WR Josh Boyce: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch)

Some offensive notes: Overall, the Patriots were in the shotgun for 15 of their 62 snaps against the Falcons. The 24 percent represents a season-low. On season, Pats have operated in shotgun for 118 of their 287 offensive snaps, a rate of 41 percent. ‘€¦ The Patriots didn’t run any no-huddle against the Falcons, marking the third time since the start of the 2012 season they didn’t use no-huddle in a game. On the year, the Patriots have operated out of a no-huddle on 17 of their 287 plays from scrimmage, a rate of six percent. That’€™s a sizable step down from the last two years when they averaged 25 percent during the regular season. (Through four weeks last year, the Patriots have been in no-huddle for 85 of their 299 plays from scrimmage, a rate of 28.4 percent.) ‘€¦ New England has run 287 offensive plays this year in four games. Not counting kneeldowns, 18 have been for negative yardage. Not counting Brady’€™s three game-ending kneeldowns on Sunday, the Patriots had three negative plays on the day against the Falcons ‘€” one negative reception from Bolden and one negative run each from Ridley and Blount. ‘€¦ We covered some of this in our piece last week about running back by committee, but the guy who has seen his opportunities decrease dramatically over the first four games was Ridley. Through four games last year, he had 79 touches (74 rushes, five catches). Through four games this year, he’s at 50 (47 rushes, three catches).

By way of comparison, here’s a breakdown through the first four games of the 2012 season.

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