Friday, November 8, 2013
Snaps: Patriots offense at midpoint
By Mike Reiss
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.