Patriots' running game still a work in progress without LeGarrette Blount

From ESPN - October 13, 2017

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Watching former New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount on "Thursday Night Football" sparked a few Patriots-related thoughts:

It's a small sample size, for sure, but watching the 250-pound Blount surge through some nicely blocked openings for the Philadelphia Eagles -- and also gain some hard-earned yardage in the red zone and on a successful two-point conversion in a 28-23 victory -- served as a reminder of what the Patriots voluntarily moved on from this offseason. Blount, who struggled at times with blitz pickup, still has it as a power runner.

As for what the Patriots have in place of Blount, it's still a developing picture outside of super-steady "passing back" James White.

Mike Gillislee, the restricted free-agent signing from the Buffalo Bills, enters Sunday's road game against the New York Jets with 246 yards on 69 carries (3.6 average) and four touchdowns (compared to Blount's 323 yards on 56 carries and one touchdown entering Thursday).

Dion Lewis is coming off his best game of the season against the Buccaneers, looking arguably as close to his pre-injury form as ever before. He has 99 yards on 19 carries (5.2 average) and one touchdown.

And Rex Burkhead has flashed signs of being an effective dual threat when healthy, as he's expected to make his return to action Sunday after missing the past three games with an injury to his ribs.

In part because of matchups, and also as a result of them not having control of the scoreboard, the Patriots have trended more toward the passing game in their 3-2 start. Tom Brady has attempted 195 passes, while the Patriots have amassed 128 rushing attempts.


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