Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Closer look at RB playing time
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As a complement to our "Hot Button" feature on ESPNBoston.com, in which Mike Rodak and Field Yates share different viewpoints on how the Patriots should proceed at running back following Stevan Ridley's ball-security struggles the last two games, let's take a closer look at how the snaps have been divided at the position in 2012:
Bolden, the rookie free agent from Mississippi, looks like the wild card at this time. He has played just three offensive snaps since returning from his four-game suspension and could be in line for some more work in the final two weeks of the regular season. The suspension, and a knee injury before that, stunted some of the momentum he had generated earlier in the season.
Another factor to consider is that if we're talking about Ridley's role potentially being scaled back, the same situation would apply to Vereen, who also fumbled on Sunday.
Finally, as a reflection of how Ridley has been a big part of the 2012 offense, consider the 2011 playing-time snap counts and how there wasn't as much of a divide between the No. 1 and No. 2 backs. The Patriots have been feeding him the ball because of his playmaking ability, which has added an important dimension to the 2012 attack.
2011 running back snap counts BenJarvus Green-Ellis -- 34.4 percent
Danny Woodhead -- 33.0 percent
Stevan Ridley -- 14.0 percent
Kevin Faulk -- 6.5 percent
Shane Vereen -- 1.9 percent