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In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players

12.03.13 at 5:39 pm ET
LeGarrette Blount

LeGarrette Blount

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. Twelve games into the regular season, here’s a breakdown of the New England offense for 2013:

RB Stevan Ridley: 144 (135 rushes, 9 catches), 12 negative rushes, 1 negative reception, 4 fumbles lost
RB LeGarrette Blount: 94 (94 rushes, 0 catches), 8 negative runs, 2 fumbles lost
RB Brandon Bolden: 73 (54 rushes, 19 catches), 4 negative runs, 1 negative reception
WR Julian Edelman: 72 (2 rushes, 70 catches), 6 dropped passes
RB Shane Vereen: 63 (35 rushes, 28 catches), 2 negative runs
WR Danny Amendola: 38 (1 rush, 37 catches), 1 negative reception
TE Rob Gronkowski: 37 (0 rushes, 37 catches)
WR Aaron Dobson: 35 (0 rushes, 35 catches), 1 negative reception, 7 dropped passes
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 32 (0 rushes, 32 catches), 7 dropped passes
QB Tom Brady: 25 (25 rushes, 0 catches), 31 sacks, 15 kneeldowns, 3 fumbles lost
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 10 (0 rushes, 10 catches)
FB James Develin: 5 (2 rushes, 3 catches)
WR Austin Collie: 3 (0 rushes, 3 catches)
WR Josh Boyce: 2 (0 rushes, 2 catches)
RB Leon Washington: 1 (1 rush, 0 catches)
TE Matthew Mulligan: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch)

Some offensive notes: The Patriots ran 69 plays on Sunday against the Texans and 28 of them were in shotgun, a rate of 41 percent. To this point in the season, the Patriots have been in shotgun formation on 358 of their 853 offensive snaps, a rate of 42 percent. (Last year through 12 games, the Patriots were in the shotgun for 428 for 918 of their plays, a rate of 47 percent.) … Against the Texans, the Patriots were in no-huddle for 2 of their 69 snaps, a rate of 3 percent. On the year, the Patriots have operated in a no-huddle on 111 of their 853 plays from scrimmage — 13 percent of the time. … New England has run 853 offensive plays this year in 12 games. Not counting kneeldowns, 63 have been for negative yardage. Of the 69 plays against the Texans, a season-low three went for negative yardage — one sack of Brady, as well as two negative runs from Vereen. Sunday also marked the first time since Sept. 29 against the Falcons that Brady was sacked one time or less in a game. … In addition to a season-low in negative plays, the Patriots were able to pin several season-lows on the Texans defense: according to our pal Adam Wexler of CSN Houston, the Texans’ D allowed a season-worst 28 first downs (previous mark was 20), 453 total yards (357), 365 passing yards (245), 6.6 yards per play (5.5) and a 33:46 mark in time of possession (33:41).

By way of comparison, here’s a look at how the offensive opportunities broke down through 12 games last season.

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