Whether you’re in the “Tom Brady is slipping” camp or the “three average weeks does not make an average quarterback” grouping, one thing most Patriots fans can agree on is that Brady will have a better chance of thriving this season if the Pats’ running game is clicking.
There’s no doubt that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is making a strong effort to run the ball as New England is currently tied for ninth in the league in rushing attempts at 89 – coincidentally tied with Kansas City, their opponent on Monday (8:30 p.m., ESPN).
After a preseason in which there were faint rumors that Stevan Ridley was going to be cut, the Patriots aren’t shying away from giving Ridley the ball. Ridley has carried the ball 52 times for 176 yards so far, including his 101-yard performance in Week 2 against Minnesota. Of note, the fumble-prone Ridley has not yet turned the ball over this season.
The Pats also want to get Shane Vereen the ball as much as possible week-in and week-out, whether it be on the ground or through the air. Vereen had seven rushing attempts in Week 1, six in Week 2 and seven in Week 3. He has also caught nine balls on the year. That’s more catches than Kenbrell Thompkins (six), Brandon LaFell (four), Danny Amendola (three) or Aaron Dobson (one) can account for so far.
So the Pats’ top two backs have been productive through three games. The problem is, they haven’t been productive enough for the Pats to be able to say they have one of the more dominant offenses in the league.
The Pats are 26th in the league in yards per attempt on the ground at 3.5. They also have just two rushing touchdowns as Vereen scored against Miami and Ridley scored against the Vikings.
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Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS