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.
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.
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.
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.
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.