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In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players

10.16.13 at 7:15 am ET
By
Stevan Ridley

Stevan Ridley

Every week over the course of the regular season, we’ll present a list of the Patriots’ “offensive 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. Six weeks into the regular season, here’s a breakdown of the New England offense for 2013:

RB Stevan Ridley: 71 (67 rushes, 4 catches), 8 negative plays, 1 fumble lost
RB LeGarrette Blount: 53 (53 rushes, 0 catches), 6 negative plays, 1 fumble lost
WR Julian Edelman: 43 (2 rushes, 41 catches)
RB Brandon Bolden: 33 (19 rushes, 14 catches), 2 negative runs, 1 negative reception
RB Shane Vereen: 21 (14 rushes, 7 catches)
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 21 (0 rushes, 21 catches)
QB Tom Brady: 19 (19 rushes, 0 catches), 15 sacks, 10 kneeldowns, 2 fumbles lost
WR Aaron Dobson: 19 (0 rushes, 19 catches), 1 negative reception
WR Danny Amendola: 17 (1 rush, 16 catches), 1 negative reception
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 8 (0 rushes, 8 catches)
WR Austin Collie: 2 (0 rushes, 2 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 39 of their 83 snaps against the Saints, a rate of 47 percent. (That was coming off a season-high 55 percent rate the week before against the Bengals.) On the season, the Patriots have been in shotgun for 190 of their 430 offensive snaps, a rate of 44 percent. (Last year through the first six games, the Patriots were in shotgun for 236 of their 489 snaps — 48 percent.) … The Patriots were in no-huddle for 44 of their 83 plays on the season (53 percent), far and away the highest percentage for a team that was running no-huddle on just five percent of their offensive snaps coming into Sunday’s game. (In contrast, they didn’t run any no-huddle the previous two games, marking the third time since the start of the 2012 season they didn’t use no-huddle in a game and the second consecutive contest.) … On the year, the Patriots have operated out of a no-huddle on 61 of their 430 plays from scrimmage, a rate of 14 percent. By way of contrast, the last two seasons New England operated out of the no-huddle 25 percent of the time during the regular season. … New England has run 430 offensive plays this year in four games. Not counting kneeldowns, 33 have been for negative yardage. Of the 83 plays on Sunday against the Saints, a season-high 10 went for negative yardage — five sacks of Brady as well as two negative runs by Blount, one negative run each from Bolden and Ridley, and a negative reception from Amendola. … With 19 carries and 14 catches, Bolden is still on pace to become the third Patriots’ player to reach the 40-carry/40-catch milestone: Kevin Faulk did it in 2008, and Danny Woodhead turned the trick last year. … Here’s a look at the offensive opportunities through six games in 2012.

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