Josh McDaniels helps lure deep threat

Patriots focus on this, lose running game

By Joshua Tessler
Scarlet Staff

The New England Patriots 2011-2012 regular season had a particularly harsh ending, as the New York Giantsdefeated the Patriots, 21-17, on February 5th in Indianapolis,

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Indiana. From that point forward, Bill Belichick, the Patriots’ Head Coach and the General Manager has been sitting in the war room putting together next season’s roster.

Last season, the Patriots had many holes in their offense none more notable thans their wide receiver position. Their wide receiver core included Wes Welker, Deion Branch, and Chad Ochocinco. Ochocinco was supposed to fill the deep threat void that Randy Moss created when he left the team in 2010. Instead, Ochocinco had one of his worst seasons in the National Football League as he had 276 total receiving yards and one touchdown.

This offseason, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels filled the deep-threat hole, as he helped bring in Brandon Lloyd (wide receiver) that he had coached with the Denver Broncos and the St. Louis Rams. Lloyd had one of his best seasons in the NFL in the 2010 regular season under McDaniels’ instruction. Lloyd had 1,448 total receiving yards and eleven touchdowns.

“Obviously there is a huge human element involved in that, with my relationships, that’s only with Josh but that’s with my relationships with coaches all around the league. My main goal is to get to the playoffs and performing in the playoffs, and trying to get to the Super Bowl, is number one on the list,” Lloyd said on ESPN Boston Radio.

However, one of their biggest losses this offseason was BenJarvus Green-Ellis, running back, signing a three-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. Green-Ellis will help the Bengals replace Cedric Benson, running back, who is on the free agent market. Except in the Patriots’ case, they are now wondering who will take over for Green-Ellis and be their starting running back.

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During training camp, it will be up to Patriots’ running backs, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, and Danny Woodhead to compete for the starting job.

“Belichick has long since developed a reputation for not overpaying anyone, but he loves Green-Ellis. If Belichick wasn’t comfortable with Vereen, Ridley, and Danny Woodhead, he would have kept Green-Ellis,” Jeff Howe of New England Sports Network (NESN) said in his Patriots Mailbag about the running back issue.

“He (Stevan Ridley) finished the year with 87 carries for 441 yards and one touchdown. The late-season ball-security issues were certainly troubling, but as long as he stays away from putting the ball on the ground, there’s no reason to think that right now he’s not the lead back in the rotation,” Christopher Price of WEEI said in his online post, Examining the Patriots’ Running Game in the Post-Green-Ellis Era.