New England Patriots: Offensive snaps

Patriots' offensive snaps: 16 for Tim Wright

October, 13, 2014
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Snaps played by New England Patriots offensive skill-position players in Sunday's 37-22 win over the Buffalo Bills (penalties and 2-point conversion attempt included, but kneel-downs not included):

Rob Gronkowski -- 58 of 74
Michael Hoomanawanui -- 40 of 74
Tim Wright -- 16 of 74

Quick-hit thoughts: Gronkowski was part of every package except a 2 WR/1 TE/1 FB/1 RB grouping as the Patriots are picking spots to give him a breather. ... Of Wright's 16 snaps, 12 came in the first half. One theory as to why his snaps weren't higher (he had 19 last week) is that the Bills were matching him in the 2-TE package with nickel personnel and the Patriots might have preferred to throw against the Bills' base personnel.

Julian Edelman -- 65 of 74
Brandon LaFell -- 53 of 74
Danny Amendola -- 24 of 74
Aaron Dobson -- 11 of 74
Brian Tyms -- 8 of 74

Quick-hit thoughts: Edelman and LaFell have separated themselves as the clear top targets. ... Amendola's snaps were down as a result of the Patriots not running as many three-receiver sets, as he's playing only in those groupings. ... Dobson didn't play against after his false start, but Tyms played only one snap after that as well as the Patriots seemed comfortable sticking with Edelman and LaFell and spreading things out and letting it rip.

Tom Brady -- 74 of 74

Quick-hit thoughts: His second-half performance was about as good as it gets. Brady seemed to like the spread-it-out-and-let-it-rip approach. "We were aggressive, so it was awesome," he said.

Shane Vereen -- 37 of 74
Stevan Ridley -- 24 of 74
Brandon Bolden -- 14 of 74

Quick-hit thoughts: There wasn't great success on the ground (27 carries, 50 yards, 1.9 avg.) but the commitment was still there throughout the game. Without Ridley, it will likely elevate James White to the game-day roster. The Patriots also have Jonas Gray on the practice squad.

James Develin -- 20 of 74

Quick-hit thoughts: He played 11 snaps in the first half and then nine in the second half, as his presence usually resulted in the Bills playing their base defense.

Patriots' offensive snaps: Ride with Ridley

October, 6, 2014
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Looking at the snaps played by New England Patriots' skill-position players on offense in the team's 43-17 victory against the Bengals (penalties included, no kneel-downs):

Stevan Ridley -- 50 of 84
Shane Vereen -- 32 of 84
Brandon Bolden -- 2 of 84

Quick-hit thought: Have to give Ridley a lot of credit, as his hard-nosed running created a spark for the offense. He was effective between the tackles and also bouncing some runs outside, with his presence making the offense more physical. He had only played 11 snaps Monday night in Kansas City. The idea of letting him string together some snaps also seemed to help him get going a bit.

James Develin -- 27 of 84

Quick-hit thought: Easily a season-high for Develin, who brings a toughness to the offense and helps pick up what he sometimes calls "dirty yards."

Rob Gronkowski -- 66 of 84
Michael Hoomanawanui -- 43 of 84
Tim Wright -- 19 of 84
Jordan Devey -- 4 of 84

Quick-hit thought: Given Wright's big night (five catches, 85 yards, TD), one might have assumed he played a greater percentage of the snaps. But he obviously made the most of his time on the field. Gronkowski's 66 snaps were easily a season-high, the previous top mark was 42 against Oakland.

Brandon LaFell -- 77 of 84
Julian Edelman -- 69 of 84
Danny Amendola -- 20 of 84
Aaron Dobson -- 11 of 84

Quick-hit thought: LaFell is now the top outside receiver, playing almost every snap. Amendola's numbers were down because the Patriots didn't use a lot of three-receiver sets in the game. Dobson was sprinkled in -- five snaps in the first half and six in the second.

Patriots' offensive snaps: Wright's role

September, 22, 2014
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at snaps played by New England Patriots players on offense in Sunday's 16-9 win over the Oakland Raiders (includes penalties but not final kneel-downs):

Michael Hoomanawanui -- 44 of 73
Rob Gronkowski -- 42 of 73
Cameron Fleming -- 12 of 73
Tim Wright -- 5 of 73

Quick-hit thoughts: Outside of Gronkowski, the Patriots aren't getting much out of this position from a pass-catching perspective and that is part of why the overall attack is so limited. If Wright is only going to play five snaps, one could make the case that roster spot could be devoted to someone else in search of a spark (Aaron Dobson?). The more likely solution in the weeks to come is to increase Wright's role as he gains more comfort in the offense (and Gronkowski becomes more comfortable blocking-wise) as he is one of the best in-house options to help balance some things out. But it's hard to do it with such limited opportunities.

Julian Edelman -- 71 of 73
Brandon LaFell -- 41 of 73
Kenbrell Thompkins -- 38 of 73
Danny Amendola -- 28 of 73

Quick-hit thoughts: The only plays Edelman wasn't on the field were in a 2-WR package on the third drive (7:51 remaining, second quarter) and in the jumbo goal-line package (13:53 remaining, fourth quarter) as he is the team's clear-cut No. 1 option and playing that way. ... LaFell and Thompkins were essentially rotated as the No. 2 receiver, while Amendola wasn't on the field in every three-receiver set as he had been through the first two weeks of the season, which reflects how the club is tinkering with different combinations and Amendola's role is continuing to be diminished a bit. ... Hard to believe 2013 second-round draft choice Dobson (healthy scratch) can't crack this group, which raises the question, "Why do the Patriots have such struggles drafting and developing at this position?"

Stevan Ridley -- 39 of 73
Shane Vereen -- 30 of 73
Brandon Bolden -- 7 of 73

Quick-hit thoughts: Ridley is running hard and has earned increased repetitions after playing just 22 snaps in the opener. He's played the most snaps among backs the last two weeks (37 and 39). Bolden's primary value comes on special teams, but he's not providing much spark on offense.

James Develin -- 8 of 73

Quick-hit thoughts: Quiet game for the bulldozing lead-blocker, as two-back sets weren't a big part of the plan.

LG Marcus Cannon -- 73 of 73
LT Nate Solder -- 73 of 73
RT Sebastian Vollmer -- 73 of 73
C/RG Dan Connolly -- 73 of 73
RG Jordan Devey -- 58 of 73
C Bryan Stork -- 15 of 73

Quick-hit thoughts: Tough day for this group overall. It will be interesting to see if Stork's presence for the final two drives was because of an injury to Devey, or if it was more performance-based.

Patriots' offensive snaps: Amendola dips

September, 15, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- A look at snaps by New England Patriots' players on offense in the team's 30-7 victory against the Minnesota Vikings (includes penalties):

Julian Edelman -- 52 of 67
Brandon LaFell -- 38 of 67
Aaron Dobson -- 31 of 67
Danny Amendola -- 19 of 67

Quick-hit thought: With the Patriots not calling on many three-receiver sets, slot-man Amendola had his lowest playing-time total (when active) since signing with the team last year. His previous low was 32 snaps, against the Ravens last year. Kenbrell Thompkins was inactive, likely because of LaFell's presence on special teams (kickoff coverage).

Michael Hoomanawanui -- 43 of 67
Rob Gronkowski -- 28 of 67
Cameron Fleming -- 28 of 67
Tim Wright -- 8 of 67

Quick-hit thought: Who would have thought that Fleming's snap total would equal Gronkowski's? It's a reminder that Gronkowski is still rounding into form (it wasn't until his fifth game back last year that he was playing every snap). This was a game where the Patriots wanted to go big at the line of scrimmage to get the running game going, hence the low snap total for Wright, whose inline blocking isn't his forte.

Tom Brady -- 67 of 67

Quick-hit thought: Some asked on Twitter why Brady was still in the game late with the team leading 30-7 and the feeling here is that the offense showed it still has a lot of work to do.

Stevan Ridley -- 37 of 67
Shane Vereen -- 20 of 67
Brandon Bolden -- 10 of 67

Quick-hit thought: With a focus on north-south, between-the-tackles running, it was a game to feature Ridley, who ran hard and hit the hole with authority. Vereen had played a running-back-high 61 snaps in the opener compared to 22 snaps for Ridley. The roles were reversed this week based on the game-plan.

James Develin -- 21 of 67

Quick-hit thought: Develin liked the Patriots' persistence in the running game, saying afterwards, "We stayed at it and just kept grinding out those dirty yards, and finally we started breaking them." He brings a hard-nosed edge to the attack.

(Offensive-line stats will be updated in a separate post.)

Patriots' offensive snaps: Vereen leads

September, 8, 2014
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- A look at snaps by New England Patriots' players on offense in the team's season-opening 33-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins (includes penalties):

Shane Vereen -- 61 of 86
Stevan Ridley -- 22 of 86
Brandon Bolden -- 9 of 86

Quick-hit thought: It was different to see Vereen, who might have been viewed more through the lens of a third-down back, getting more playing time in short-yardage situations and in close to the goal-line. Rookie James White was inactive.

Julian Edelman -- 83 of 86
Danny Amendola -- 61 of 86
Kenbrell Thompkins -- 47 of 86
Brandon LaFell- -- 38 of 86

Quick-hit thoughts: No question as to how the Patriots view Edelman; he's the No. 1 option. This looked like a game where the Patriots could have used the down-the-field presence of Aaron Dobson, who was inactive.

Rob Gronkowski -- 38 of 86
Michael Hoomanawanui -- 30 of 86
Tim Wright -- 21 of 86
Cameron Fleming -- 3 of 86

Quick-hit thought: Gronkowski played 23 snaps in the first half and just 15 in the second half, when things got away from the Patriots. Fleming, the rookie offensive tackle from Stanford, was used as a blocking tight end over Josh Kline, who was inactive after assuming that role in the preseason.

James Develin -- 17 of 86

Quick-hit thought: Played 12 snaps in the first half, but when the Patriots fell behind in the second half, they needed to put more passing-based personnel on the field.

LG Marcus Cannon -- 86 of 86
C/RG Dan Connolly -- 86 of 86
LT Nate Solder -- 86 of 86
RT Sebastian Vollmer -- 85 of 86
RG Jordan Devey -- 64 of 86
C Ryan Wendell -- 22 of 86
RT Cameron Fleming -- 1 of 86

Quick-hit thought: Based on the playing-time breakdown, it seems fair to assume that the Patriots view Cannon, Connolly, Solder and Vollmer the team's top four linemen, as they rotated Devey and Wendell as the fifth option. When rookie center Bryan Stork returns to full health, perhaps he challenges for a spot in the top group.

Snaps: Edelman with ironman finish

January, 20, 2014
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
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
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.