New England Patriots: Offensive snaps

Snaps: Edelman with ironman finish

January, 20, 2014
Jan 20
DENVER -- A look at the snaps played by skill-position players in the New England Patriots' 26-16 loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game:

QB Tom Brady -- 59 of 59
WR Julian Edelman -- 59 of 59
TE Michael Hoomanawanui -- 49 of 59
WR Danny Amendola -- 41 of 59
RB Shane Vereen -- 41 of 59
WR Austin Collie -- 37 of 59
WR Aaron Dobson -- 22 of 59
TE Matthew Mulligan -- 13 of 59
FB James Develin -- 12 of 59
RB Stevan Ridley -- 10 of 59
RB LeGarrette Blount -- 8 of 59
WR Matthew Slater -- 3 of 59

(Penalties included. Two-point conversion included.)

ANALYSIS: Edelman's importance to the offense is reflected in the fact he never left the field in the most important game of the season. He gave the team everything he had. ... Dobson, a rookie receiver, was obviously limited with a foot injury and was managed carefully. The beneficiary of his absence was Collie, who rose up to the challenge with a strong performance. ... Amendola played too many snaps to go without a catch. He had the one drop. ... At running back, it was a rotation with the big backs Blount and Ridley, but they hardly played because of the way the game unfolded and the Patriots were forced into more of a passing game. With that, Vereen took the majority of snaps at the position. ... The 59 snaps were a season-low. The previous low was 63, against the Bengals on Oct. 6.

Snaps: Patriots committee at RB

January, 12, 2014
Jan 12
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at the snaps played by Patriots skill-position players in Saturday's 43-22 win over the Colts in the divisional round of the playoffs, while analyzing what it means (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

TE Michael Hoomanawanui -- 73 of 73
WR Julian Edelman - 68 of 73
WR Danny Amendola -- 40 of 73
WR Kenbrell Thompkins -- 38 of 73
FB James Develin -- 33 of 73
TE Matthew Mulligan -- 33 of 73
RB LeGarrette Blount -- 26 of 73
RB Shane Vereen -- 24 of 73
RB Stevan Ridley -- 23 of 73
WR Matthew Slater -- 4 of 73
WR Austin Collie -- 2 of 73
RB Brandon Bolden -- 1 of 73

(Penalties included; final kneel-down not included.)

ANALYSIS: With the snaps split almost evenly between LeGarrette Blount (26), Shane Vereen (24) and Stevan Ridley (23), it is very much a true committee approach. Blount is the lead back in terms of playing initially in games, but this is no one-man band. ... Fullback James Develin's 33 snaps were one shy of the career high he set in the season finale against the Bills on Dec. 29. Develin drew praise from guard Logan Mankins after the game, with Mankins saying: "I don't know if he's gotten that much credit this year, but he's been outstanding. He's been another element to our team that we were lacking." ... It was a first for tight end Michael Hoomanawanui in terms of playing every snap in a game this season. ... Julian Edelman remains the top receiver, as part of every package outside of the 1 WR grouping. ... Danny Amendola opened the game as the third receiver before transitioning into some two-receiver sets. ... Kenbrell Thompkins didn't return after leaving with a head injury late in the third quarter. ... Matthew Slater's four snaps at receiver are part of the 1 WR power package, which is why he earned a rare offensive start as the Patriots opened the game on the Colts' 2-yard line after Alfonzo Dennard's interception return.

Snaps: Offensive breakdown for 2013

January, 4, 2014
Jan 4
A review of snaps played by Patriots offensive skill-position players in the 2013 season and analyzing what it means (as charted in the press box, small margin for error):

Tom Brady – 1,200 of 1,200 (100 percent)
Ryan Mallett -- 0 of 1,200 (0 percent)

Quick-hit thoughts: Brady’s desire to stay in games until the end is well-documented. At the same time, there weren’t many opportunities, with so many games coming down to the wire, to call on Mallett. Overall, Brady’s toughness stands out – his right throwing hand took a hard shot Oct. 20 versus the Jets and he played through it.

Running back
Stevan Ridley – 336 of 1,200 (28.0 percent)
Shane Vereen – 291 of 1,200 (24.3 percent)
LeGarrette Blount – 280 of 1,200 (23.3 percent)
Brandon Bolden – 278 of 1,200 (23.2 percent)
Leon Washington – 14 of 1,200 (1.2 percent)

Quick-hit thoughts: A true four-way committee, in part because of injury (Vereen missed eight weeks on the short-term IR) and Ridley’s decline because of ball-security issues. Ridley played 45 percent of the snaps in 2012, so this was a big drop for him. Blount is scheduled for free agency after the season, while Ridley and Vereen enter the final year of their contracts.

James Develin – 310 of 1,200 (25.8 percent)

Quick-hit thoughts: The Patriots didn’t have a pure fullback on the roster last season, but Develin became an even more important part of the attack because of multiple injuries at tight end. His contributions this season easily rival those of past fullbacks in Bill Belichick’s tenure such as Heath Evans and Marc Edwards.

Tight end
Michael Hoomanawanui – 691 of 1,200 (57.6 percent)
Rob Gronkowski – 384 of 1,200 (32.0 percent)
Matthew Mulligan – 275 of 1,200 (22.9 percent)
Zach Sudfeld – 44 of 1,200 (3.7 percent)
Nate Solder – 22 of 1,200 (1.8 percent)
D.J. Williams – 11 of 1,200 (0.9 percent)

Quick-hit thoughts: If there was an award to give out for the unsung performer for the offense, Hoomanawanui would be a leading candidate. He held the fort until Gronkowski’s return Oct. 20, played a complementary role once Gronkowski got up to speed, then took over the top role again after Gronkowski’s season-ending injury. Both Hoomanawanui and Mulligan have contracts that expire after the season.

Wide receiver
Julian Edelman – 1,032 of 1,200 (86.0 percent)
Kenbrell Thompkins – 589 of 1,200 (49.1 percent)
Danny Amendola – 579 of 1,200 (48.3 percent)
Aaron Dobson – 557 of 1,200 (46.4 percent)
Josh Boyce – 179 of 1,200 (14.9 percent)
Austin Collie – 113 of 1,200 (9.4 percent)
Matthew Slater – 15 of 1,200 (1.3 percent)

Quick-hit thoughts: This has been Edelman’s coming-out party. Healthy for a full 16 games, he has shown what he can do and it’s been impressive. Contrast his 86 percent playing time clip to Wes Welker’s 63.7 percent playing time clip in Denver, and one would have thought the numbers would be reversed. At the same time, the Patriots were obviously banking on more than 48.3 percent from Amendola. That Thompkins and Dobson played as much as they did gives them a good foundation on which to build in 2014.

(Penalties included; not kneel-downs.)

Snaps: Season-high 33 for Blount

December, 30, 2013
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at the snaps played by New England Patriots offensive skill-position players in Sunday's win over the Buffalo Bills, while analyzing what it means (small margin for error, as charted in press box):

QB Tom Brady -- 72 of 72
WR Julian Edelman -- 69 of 72
TE Michael Hoomanawanui -- 64 of 72
FB James Develin -- 34 of 72
WR Kenbrell Thompkins -- 34 of 72
WR Danny Amendola -- 33 of 72
RB LeGarrette Blount -- 33 of 72
TE Matthew Mulligan -- 28 of 72
RB Stevan Ridley -- 21 of 72
WR Aaron Dobson -- 17 of 72
RB Shane Vereen -- 17 of 72
TE D.J. Williams -- 8 of 72
RB Brandon Bolden -- 1 of 72
WR Matthew Slater -- 1 of 72

(Kneel-downs not included; two-point conversion included.)

ANALYSIS: While the Patriots are rotating their running backs, LeGarrette Blount has been getting the start and playing the majority of offensive snaps, as his 33 represented a season high. That came one week after he totaled a season-high 27 against the Ravens. Since playing only two snaps against the Broncos on Nov. 24, Blount's snap count totals are 20, 21, 20, 27, 33. Over that same span, fellow running back Stevan Ridley's snap counts are 0, 17, 13, 21, 21, which shows a bit of a changing of the guard. ... Fullback James Develin's 34 offensive snaps were a season high, eclipsing the 29 he played against Houston on Dec. 1. This was a "running game", so it makes sense that the fullback position was called upon a bit more often than the norm. ... WR Aaron Dobson didn't return after injuring his foot on the second series. Kenbrell Thompkins mostly took his place, although Danny Amendola also had some reps in two-receiver packages after opening the game exclusively as the No. 3 option. ... In the final four games of the season, WR Julian Edelman was taken off the field for a total of six offensive snaps. He finished the year playing 1,032 snaps by our count, which led all Patriots receivers and was an 86-percent clip of the overall offensive snaps. ... TE D.J. Williams made his debut, as he was sprinkled into the attack, with all but one of his eight snaps coming as the lone tight end in the three-receiver grouping. That gives the Patriots a little more of a "move" type tight end option out of the tight end spot in those packages.

Snaps: Blount hits a high with 27

December, 23, 2013
BALTIMORE -- A look at snaps played by New England Patriots skill-position players in Sunday's win over the Baltimore Ravens, while analyzing what it means (small margin for error, as charted in press box):

QB Tom Brady -- 69 of 69
WR Julian Edelman -- 68 of 69
TE Michael Hoomanawanui -- 66 of 69
WR Aaron Dobson -- 54 of 69
WR Danny Amendola-- 32 of 69
TE Matthew Mulligan -- 30 of 69
RB LeGarrette Blount -- 27 of 69
FB James Develin -- 24 of 69
RB Stevan Ridley -- 21 of 69
RB Brandon Bolden -- 14 of 69
RB Shane Vereen -- 7 of 69
WR Austin Collie -- 1 of 69
WR Matthew Slater -- 1 of 69

(Penalties included.)

Analysis: Blount's 27 snaps were a season high. His previous top mark was 23, from the opener against the Bills. Blount and Ridley split carries as the team's "big back," mostly on a series-by-series basis, and Ridley's 21 snaps were his most since returning to the 46-man game-day roster Dec. 8 vs. Cleveland after he was a healthy scratch Dec. 1. ... Vereen's low total was a result of him leaving the game in the first half with a groin injury and not returning. ... The combination of Dobson's return after missing three games and positional groupings trending heavier toward 2-TE packages or 1 TE/1 FB packages led to snaps for No. 3 receiver Amendola being down. Amendola played in some two-receiver groupings but his 32 overall snaps were his low mark of the season for games in which he was active. ... The only snap in which Edelman wasn't on the field was Blount's 1-yard touchdown run, when the team went with a 1 WR power package (Slater came on at receiver for his lone snap). ... Collie's lone snap came the play after a long bomb to Dobson was incomplete and Dobson got the next play off.

Snaps: WR Josh Boyce exits with injury

December, 16, 2013
MIAMI -- A look at snaps played by Patriots skill-position players in Sunday's 24-20 loss to the Dolphins, while analyzing what it means (small margin for error, as charted in press box):

QB Tom Brady -- 81 of 81
WR Julian Edelman -- 79 of 81
TE Michael Hoomanawanui -- 71 of 81
WR Danny Amendola -- 66 of 81
RB Shane Vereen -- 48 of 81
WR Josh Boyce -- 36 of 81
FB James Develin -- 28 of 81
WR Austin Collie -- 22 of 81
RB LeGarrette Blount -- 20 of 81
TE Matthew Mulligan -- 20 of 81
RB Stevan Ridley -- 13 of 81
WR Matthew Slater -- 2 of 81

(Penalties included.)

ANALYSIS: Rookie receiver Josh Boyce didn't play the final three series of the game after playing in both two- and three-receiver packages up to that point. He was seen limping out of the locker room. ... The lone two snaps that Julian Edelman didn't play came in the one-receiver package, with Matthew Slater coming on. ... Danny Amendola opened as the No. 3 receiver before taking snaps in the two-receiver package after Boyce departed. ... Receiver Austin Collie's snaps all came in place of Boyce, on the final three drives. ... At running back, Stevan Ridley was integrated into the mix for the second straight week in a reserve role. The Patriots rotated snaps on a series by series with big backs Ridley and LeGarrette Blount, who started and ended up playing more snaps because he was part of longer drives. ... Shane Vereen led all running backs in snaps for the third straight week. ... At tight end, there is no doubt about Michael Hoomanawanui's health as he returns from a Nov. 18 knee injury, as he assumed No. 1 duties with a 71-snap effort. .... Fullback James Develin was also active, as his 28 snaps represents an increase from his average workload.

Snaps: Vereen as lead RB once again

December, 9, 2013
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at snaps played by New England Patriots skill-position players in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns, and analyzing what it means (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

QB Tom Brady – 82 of 82
WR Julian Edelman – 82 of 82
WR Josh Boyce – 72 of 82
WR Danny Amendola – 62 of 82
RB Shane Vereen – 44 of 82
TE Rob Gronkowski – 40 of 82
TE Matthew Mulligan – 39 of 82
RB LeGarrette Blount – 21 of 82
RB Stevan Ridley – 17 of 82
FB James Develin – 16 of 82
WR Austin Collie – 15 of 82
WR Matthew Slater – 2 of 82

(Penalties, spikes and 2-point conversions included. Kneel-downs not included.)

ANALYSIS: For the second week in a row, Vereen had the high total among running backs and it seems like that will be a trend that continues because he adds a different dimension to the passing game. While the numbers skew heavier to Vereen because the Patriots were in their hurry-up offense late, with him playing the final 15 snaps, he still was in a lead position (29 snaps) over Blount (21) and Ridley (17) entering the final two hurry-up drives. … Gronkowski was back to playing every snap, a sign that he was essentially all the way back from his prior injuries, before he was carted off after taking a shot to his right knee. … The 39 snaps were a season high for Mulligan, eclipsing his 36-snap total from last week in Houston. Mulligan has seen his snaps rise in recent weeks. ... At receiver, rookie Boyce filled in for injured rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins as the outside X target. He had been charted on the field for 71 snaps through the season’s first 12 games. He surpassed the total by one in this single game. … Edelman was the top receiver, with Amendola mostly coming on as the third option in three-receiver packages. There were two snaps after the two-minute warning that will be double-checked for accuracy, as Slater came on to the field (and it was initially difficult to determine whether he replaced Edelman, Amendola or Collie).

Snaps: Vereen as lead running back

December, 2, 2013
HOUSTON -- A look at snaps played by Patriots offensive skill-position players in Sunday's 34-31 win over the Texans, while analyzing what it means (as charted in the press box, small margin for error):

QB Tom Brady -- 70 of 70
TE Rob Gronkowski -- 63 of 70
WR Julian Edelman -- 62 of 70
WR Danny Amendola -- 48 of 70
RB Shane Vereen -- 41 of 70
TE Matthew Mulligan -- 36 of 70
FB James Develin -- 29 of 70
RB LeGarrette Blount -- 20 of 70
WR Josh Boyce -- 16 of 70
WR Kenbrell Thompkins -- 15 of 70
RB Brandon Bolden -- 9 of 70
WR Matthew Slater -- 8 of 70
TE D.J. Williams -- 3 of 70

(Penalties included.)

ANALYSIS: The snapshot at running back provides a clear picture of how the Patriots approached things with Stevan Ridley a healthy scratch, as Shane Vereen was the lead option (41 snaps). What stood out about Vereen's total was that he was part of more traditional sets, not just the three-receiver package in which he would be considered the "passing back." LeGarrette Blount was the No. 2 option, followed by Brandon Bolden. ... Receiver Kenbrell Thompkins started and injured his hip on the third series. He attempted to come back and played three snaps before shutting it down for the day. That created a new combination in the two-receiver set, with Julian Edelman joined by slot man Danny Amendola. Edelman, who played big, has earned the nickname "Minitron" from quarterback Tom Brady, according to Tom E. Curran of Comcast SportsNet. ... Special teams captain Matthew Slater's eight snaps were easily a season-high as depth was tapped after Thompkins' injury. ... It was also a season-high for tight end Matthew Mulligan (36 snaps), as the Patriots leaned heavy on the 2-tight end package. Mulligan's previous high was 24 snaps, against the Broncos on Nov. 24, as he been on the field more in recent weeks with Michael Hoomanawanui sidelined with a knee injury. ... Likewise, fullback James Develin's 29 snaps were a season-high (previous high was 28, vs. the Jets on Sept. 12). ... Tight end D.J. Williams, who was signed to a free-agent contract on Wednesday, was part of the 3-tight end package at the goal-line (James Develin TD) and was sprinkled in twice in the two-tight end package when Rob Gronkowski was given a short breather. At one point, he lined up in the offensive backfield initially.

Snaps: Gronk back to full workload

November, 25, 2013
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at the snaps played by Patriots skill-position players in Sunday's win over the Broncos, while analyzing what it means (small margin for error, as charted in press box):

QB Tom Brady -- 86 of 86
TE Rob Gronkowski -- 86 of 86
WR Julian Edelman -- 72 of 86
WR Danny Amendola -- 59 of 86
WR Kenbrell Thompkins -- 44 of 86
RB Shane Vereen -- 44 of 86
WR Aaron Dobson -- 37 of 86
RB Brandon Bolden -- 35 of 86
TE Matthew Mulligan -- 24 of 86
FB James Develin -- 21 of 86
RB Stevan Ridley -- 5 of 86
RB LeGarrette Blount -- 2 of 86
WR Matthew Slater -- 1 of 86

ANALYSIS: One of the biggest takeaways is that Gronkowski played every snap for the first time since his return Oct. 20, which is a sign of his improving health, stamina and conditioning. ... After playing extensively in the first half, Dobson was limited to two snaps in the second half. We'll see Wednesday if he pops up on the injury report. ... In Dobson's absence, Thompkins played 41 of his 44 snaps in the second half. Edelman was the primary No. 2 receiver, with Amendola the No. 3. ... Slater's lone snap came on the goal-line on Bolden's 1-yard touchdown run. ... At running back, Ridley and Blount didn't play again after their lost fumbles.

Snaps: Shane Vereen plays 34 in return

November, 19, 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A look at snaps played by Patriots offensive skill-position players in the team's 24-20 loss to the Panthers, while analyzing what it means (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

QB Tom Brady -- 72-of-72
TE Rob Gronkowski -- 63-of-72
WR Julian Edelman -- 59-of-72
WR Aaron Dobson -- 53-of-72
WR Danny Amendola -- 49-of-72
RB Shane Vereen -- 34-of-72
RB LeGarrette Blount -- 19-of-72
FB James Develin -- 19-of-72
RB Stevan Ridley -- 19-of-72
TE Michael Hoomanawanui -- 15-of-72
TE Matthew Mulligan -- 14-of-72
WR Kenbrell Thompkins -- 14-of-72
WR Josh Boyce -- 2-of-72

(Penalties included.)

ANALYSIS: The return of Vereen (34 snaps) off the injured reserve list stands out, as he was the team's primary "passing back." The snaps were more evenly distributed among the top three backs before the final 11-play drive, which was all Vereen because his skills are the best match for that setting. ... Ridley played six snaps after his lost fumble in the second quarter. Part of that was the team wanting to get Blount (19 snaps) going, as well as the situation (end-of-game situation). ... Gronkowski's 63 snaps were a season high, as he had averaged 44 snaps per game in his first three games back. ... Thompkins (14 snaps) served as the No. 4 receiver behind Edelman (59), Dobson (53) and Amendola (49). ... Of Develin's 19 snaps, 13 came after Hoomanawanui left with a knee injury as the team utilized some two-back sets over two-TE sets.

Snaps: Patriots offense at midpoint

November, 8, 2013
With the New England Patriots on their bye week, it's a good time to step back and assess. The following are snaps played by skill-position players through the first nine games of the season (penalties included), with a quick-hit analysis at each position:

Tom Brady -- 668 of 668 -- 100 percent
Ryan Mallett -- o of 668 -- 0 percent

Quick-hit thoughts: Outside of this past Sunday's 55-31 win over the Steelers, in which the Patriots broke open a 24-24 tie in the third quarter, there haven't been any comfortable fourth quarters for the Patriots to turn to Mallett. Plus, we know Brady doesn't exactly like to come off the field.

Stevan Ridley -- 240 of 668 -- 35.9 percent
Brandon Bolden -- 219 of 668 -- 32.8 percent
LeGarrette Blount -- 138 of 668 -- 20.7 percent
Leon Washington -- 14 of 668 -- 2.1 percent
Shane Vereen -- 56 of 668 -- 8.4 percent

Quick-hit thoughts: Ridley averaged 46.1 snaps per game at this time last year. This year, he's averaging almost 10 snaps fewer per game (he did miss one game with a hamstring injury), which shows how Blount has cut into his workload more this year as compared to last year when the team didn't have as experienced of a No. 2 big back. ... Vereen has only played in one game but is eligible and on course to return Nov. 18 at Carolina. His return figures to cut mostly into Bolden's time. Bolden played 93 snaps all of last season, but his playing time has spiked this year as the "passing back" filling in for Vereen.

James Develin -- 139 of 668 -- 20.8 percent

Quick-hit thoughts: Develin is the first pure lead fullback to play consistently since the Patriots had Heath Evans on the roster in 2008. Without tight end Rob Gronkowski for the first six games, the Patriots ran more two-back sets than two-tight-end sets, but Develin's time has dipped since Gronkowski's return. Develin averaged 18.5 offensive snaps per game when the Patriots were without Gronkowski. He's averaged 9.3 snaps per game since Gronkowski's return.

Julian Edelman -- 541 of 668 -- 81.0 percent
Kenbrell Thompkins -- 482 of 668 -- 72.2 percent
Aaron Dobson -- 396 of 668 -- 59.3 percent
Danny Amendola -- 230 of 668 -- 34.4 percent
Austin Collie -- 75 of 668 -- 11.2 percent
Josh Boyce -- 53 of 668 -- 7.9 percent

Quick-hit thoughts: With Amendola missing three games with a groin injury and one-and-a-half games with a concussion, his playing time ranks fourth on the list even though the season-opening plan seemed to be to have him in the top two. Edelman has mostly filled in the gap, and he not only leads the team in playing time but also receptions (49). ... Dobson has passed Thompkins on the depth chart as the No. 1 option at the X the last two weeks, as Thompkins has fallen off the radar (14 snaps vs. Miami; healthy scratch vs. Pittsburgh). Collie, who had been the No. 4 option, was released after sustaining a knee injury (had signed an injury waiver) so Thompkins could be re-emerging in that role. ... Boyce, the fourth-round pick from Texas Christian, has been a healthy scratch the last four games.

Michael Hoomanawanui -- 475 of 668 -- 71.1 percent
Rob Gronkowski -- 132 of 668 -- 19.8 percent
Matthew Mulligan -- 84 of 668 -- 12.6 percent
Zach Sudfeld -- 44 of 668 -- 6.6 percent
Nate Solder -- 22 of 668 -- 3.3 percent

Quick-hit thoughts: Hoomanawanui has been an unsung performer holding the fort until Gronkowski's return. He played 283 snaps all last season, a total he had topped by Week 6 this year. He averaged 59 snaps per game before Gronkowski's return, and has averaged 40.3 since Gronkowski came back in Week 7. ... Mulligan is the No. 3 option and is mostly used in a blocking role. ... Solder, the left tackle, was used as an eligible receiver early in the year when the Patriots were dealing with a shortage at the position. ... Sudfeld is now with the Jets.

Snaps: Dobson over Thompkins at WR

November, 4, 2013
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at the snaps played by New England Patriots offensive skill-position players in the team's 55-31 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers while analyzing what it means (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

QB Tom Brady -- 75 of 75
WR Aaron Dobson -- 68 of 75
WR Julian Edelman -- 53 of 75
RB Stevan Ridley -- 51 of 75
TE Michael Hoomanawanui -- 50 of 75
TE Rob Gronkowski -- 48 of 75
WR Danny Amendola -- 45 of 75
TE Matthew Mulligan -- 21 of 75
RB Brandon Bolden -- 16 of 75
RB LeGarrette Blount -- 8 of 75
FB James Develin -- 8 of 75
WR Austin Collie -- 7 of 75

(Penalties included.)

Analysis: Dobson has graduated to the No. 1 spot in the recent weeks as the "X" receiver. That was a role held by fellow rookie Kenbrell Thompkins earlier in the season, but Dobson has passed him on the depth chart the last two weeks and his production has been impressive. Thompkins was a healthy scratch on Sunday. ... Amendola still isn't all the way back, as he played mostly in the three-receiver set and split some No. 2 reps with Edelman. ... Gronkowski's terrific performance takes on added context when considering he played only 48 of 75 possible snaps. As Brady said after the game, "When he's out there for every snap it's going to be even better." ... With fellow tight ends Hoomanawanui (50) and Mulligan (21) playing a considerable number of snaps, it reflected the overall plan of playing more snaps than the norm with multiple-tight-end groupings. ... Ridley's 51 snaps were a season high. His previous high was 38 against the Saints. He had been averaging 27 snaps per game over the seven contests in which he dressed.

Snaps: Exploring Ridley's decline

October, 28, 2013
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at the snaps played by Patriots skill-position players in Sunday's 27-17 win over the Dolphins, while analyzing what it means (small margin for error, as charted in press box):

QB Tom Brady -- 65-of-65
WR Aaron Dobson -- 50-of-65
WR Danny Amendola -- 39-of-65
TE Michael Hoomanawanui -- 37-of-65
WR Austin Collie -- 33-of-65
WR Julian Edelman -- 33-of-65
TE Rob Gronkowski -- 33-of-65
RB Brandon Bolden -- 31-of-65
RB Stevan Ridley -- 20-of-65
RB LeGarrette Blount -- 14-of-65
WR Kenbrell Thompkins -- 14-of-65
TE Matthew Mulligan -- 13-of-65
FB James Develin -- 8-of-65

(Penalties included. Kneel-down at the end of the first half not included.)

ANALYSIS: During the game, it was difficult to comprehend why the team's best pure rusher, Stevan Ridley, was seemingly used so sparingly. One theory floated from this perspective on Twitter was that perhaps it was a result of some in-house discipline for his actions on a touchdown run last week (he high-stepped it in), but with the benefit of time in putting together the snap counts, the feeling here is that probably wasn't it. An educated guess is that Ridley's lack of snaps were combination of: 1) Brandon Bolden being viewed as the best pass-protecting back and that being prioritized in this week's plan based on the varied blitzes the Dolphins had shown on film; 2) A rotation with LeGarrette Blount in the "big back" role that limited overall opportunities for both because the Patriots didn't have a lot of plays. Had the Patriots sustained more drives, the substitution pattern between Blount and Ridley likely would have been seen more clearly. The substitution pattern showed up by looking closely at the team's longest drives -- on the 15-play, second-quarter march, Ridley took all the "big back" snaps while Bolden was on for the "passing back" snaps; and on the 13-play fourth-quarter drive, Blount took all the "big back" snaps but one, while Bolden took the "passing back" snaps. ... At receiver, Aaron Dobson was the primary "X" option, over Kenbrell Thompkins. The 14 snaps for Thompkins were a season-low. ... Austin Collie continues to work himself into the receiver mix, even though it was a quiet game for him on the stat sheet (no catches), as his 33 snaps were a season-high in the three games he's played (26 vs. Jets; 9 vs. Saints). ... Overall, it seemed to be more of a liberal mix of substitutions at receiver between Danny Amendola (39), Julian Edelman (33) and Collie (33). ... At tight end, Rob Gronkowski continues to be eased into the mix, as he played fewer snaps (33) than last week (51).

Snaps: Gronkowski eases into mix

October, 21, 2013
Snaps played by Patriots offensive skill-position players in Sunday’s 30-27 loss to the Jets, while analyzing what it means (as charted in the press box, small margin for error)

QB Tom Brady – 79 of 79
WR Julian Edelman – 74 of 79
WR Kenbrell Thompkins – 73 of 79
TE Rob Gronkowski – 51 of 79
RB Brandon Bolden – 49 of 79
WR Aaron Dobson – 44 of 79
TE Michael Hoomanawanui – 34 of 79
RB Stevan Ridley – 28 of 79
WR Austin Collie – 26 of 79
FB James Develin – 12 of 79
RB LeGarrette Blount -- 2 of 79
TE Matthew Mulligan – 2 of 79

(Penalties included.)

ANALYSIS: Rob Gronkowski usually is closer to playing every snap, but in his 2013 debut, his snaps were managed. The Patriots were mostly in a three-receiver package throughout the game, so when Gronkowski wasn’t in the game as the lone tight end, Michael Hoomanawanui came on in his place. The Patriots preserved Gronkowski for crunch time, as he played 22 of the final 25 snaps of the game. ... At receiver, Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman were the top two options. Rookie Aaron Dobson, who had played a season-high 80 snaps last week, settled back into a No. 3 role. ... At running back, because the Patriots opened in more of an up-tempo approach, the usage trended more toward “passing back” Brandon Bolden. It was a noticeable drop-off for LeGarrette Blount as there was less of a three-player rotation at the position.

Snaps: More work for WR Aaron Dobson

October, 14, 2013
Snaps played by offensive skill-position players in the New England Patriots’ 30-27 win over the New Orleans Saints, while analyzing what it means (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

QB Tom Brady – 88 of 88
WR Aaron Dobson – 80 of 88
TE Michael Hoomanawanui – 76 of 88
WR Kenbrell Thompkins – 59 of 88
WR Danny Amendola – 49 of 88
WR Julian Edelman – 43 of 88
RB Stevan Ridley – 38 of 88
RB Brandon Bolden – 34 o8f 88
FB James Develin – 22 of 88
RB LeGarrette Blount – 16 of 88
TE Matthew Mulligan – 13 of 88
WR Austin Collie – 9 of 88
OL Will Svitek – 1 of 88*

* Svitek gets credit for the snap as he entered the game, with left tackle Nate Solder reporting eligible.

(Penalties included.)

Analysis: The 88 snaps are the second-most this season, behind 94 in the season opener. The Patriots played with a fast tempo, which led to the higher snap total. … Dobson had his most extended workload of the season as he was part of more packages than the norm. His playing-time progression has been 0, 34, 55, 26, 39, 80. He took some of the snaps that had been going to Thompkins. … Edelman opened the game as the team’s No. 4 receiver and was also part of a two-receiver package. He ended up playing in three-receiver packages when Amendola sustained a head injury, but overall his workload was reduced compared to past weeks. … Collie had played one snap before staying on the field for the entire game-winning, eight-play touchdown drive. … Hoomanawanui continues to be an unsung performer as his 76 snaps were the second-highest among non-quarterback skill-position players, and his second-highest total of the season (80, vs. Buffalo). He’s averaging 59 snaps per game this season. … At running back, the Patriots rotated on a series by series basis early, giving Ridley the entire 10-play third series. Ridley played the most snaps among running backs, although Bolden’s snap total spiked late because he was utilized as the passing back in the team’s four-wide package.