Thursday, January 19, 2012
Pats-Ravens: Will Hernandez keep running?
By James Walker
One of the most interesting wrinkles New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick added following the team's bye week was an increased workload for tight end Aaron Hernandez at running back.
Hernandez carried the ball sparingly before. He had five carries for 45 yards this past season. His 9.0-yard average helped New England’s coaching staff further explore running the ball more with Hernandez in the playoffs.
The backup tight end led the Patriots in rushing with 61 yards on five carries (12.2 average) against the Denver Broncos. He ran for 43 yards on his first carry and showed good vision and athleticism.
It turns out Hernandez played a lot of running back in high school. Denver's defense was caught by surprise.
Will Hernandez get more carries against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game? It remains to be seen. But his performance against Denver certainly gives the Ravens something to think about.
With that said, New England already gained an edge here even if Hernandez isn't used as a running back this weekend. Baltimore has to spend time preparing for it either way.