- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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In a piece now posted on ESPN.com (Insider content), former NFL scout Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. writes on how the Patriots' offense has become more lethal in 2012.
A big part is the running game.
"While the passing game gets all the headlines, the New England running game may be a little underrated," Horton writes. "I believe we'll see more from running backs Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead in 2012. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels -- back in his former role with the team -- will likely get a little closer to evening out the Pats' 42-58 run-pass ratio from 2011. They will use both zone and man blocking principles up front in their offensive line, and we will see more power run schemes than in the past. McDaniels likes to create confusion with the play-action as well, and that starts with effective running."
Horton then answers the question many might have been thinking.
"Why worry about improving the running game when your passing attack is so lethal? Because adding yet another wrinkle will keep defenses even more off balance than they have been in the past, and in Brady, the Patriots have a ringleader who can piece together a puzzle with so many appealing pieces."