Patriots attack has its targets, threats

BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be key against the Cowboys.

The Patriots scored the most points in the NFL last season. And with essentially all of their productive offensive players returning, there’s no reason to believe they can’t do it again.

New England sports five legit running backs; look for them to contribute in a “committee” fashion.
On the receiving end, the addition of Chad Ochocinco — along with full seasons of Deion Branch and Wes Welker — gives Tom Brady plenty of terrific options.

The Pats took two running backs — Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen — relatively high in this year’s draft, ending Fred Taylor’s time in Foxborough. But it looks like Kevin Faulk will hang on for one more year, probably in a teaching role.

Unless they put Faulk on IR or move someone to the practice squad, Sammy Morris seems to be the odd man out. There’s just no way the Pats keep six at this position.

With the number of talented backs and wide receivers on the team, it’s highly unlikely BenJarvus Green-Ellis hits the 1,000-yard mark again this year.

But is a 1,000-yard receiver out of the question?

The Pats have a trio of bona fide pass-catchers in Ochocinco, Branch and Welker. But there’s a drop-off after that “Big Three.”

Julien Edelman and Brandon Tate have shown flashes, but nothing consistent. But they’re still immensely valuable on punt and kick returns.

Taylor Price is a work in progress, but Bill Belichick has said he’s improved just about everywhere since his rookie campaign. He should see more time in the field this season.

Matthew Slater is more of a special teamer — and, even if kept, won’t see much time at wideout.



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