The Patriots had the sixth ranked rushing attack in 2008, and with nearly the entire core of rushers returning (sans Heath Evans and Lamont Jordan, who departed to the Saints and Broncos via free agency), plus newly acquired Fred Taylor, the Patriots running back group looks to be a force to be reckoned with in 2009. While the Patriots have a great group of backs this year, there really are no defined roles for the backfield. Kevin Faulk will more than likely continue to handle the 3rd down role, but after that, nothing is decided. Laurence Maroney, in his fourth year, still has the potential, but he hasn’t been consistent and he hasn’t been able to put the injury bug behind him. Sammy Morris was the Patriots leading rusher in 2008, he runs with good power and consistency, but is 32. Fred Taylor is quick, agile, strong, but also 33; so there are questions of how many carries he can handle. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a powerful no non-sense back, but he doesn’t have the most natural talent. Eric Kettani, a HB/FB from Navy, is a longer shot to make the roster.
Projected Depth Chart
1. Laurence Maroney
2. Fred Taylor
3. Sammy Morris
4. Kevin Faulk (3rd down)
5. (BenJarvus Green-Ellis)
CUTS: Eric Kettani
1. With the oldest groups of backs in the NFL, will this group be able to hold up throughout training camp?
2. Will Laurence Maroney finally be able to bite the injury bug and live up to his potential?
3. Who will be the Patriots starting back opening day?
Training Camp Battles
Everyone vs. Everyone: The great thing about this group is that nothing is decided. Who will start? Who will be #2? Age, injuries, and skill will all be factors. There’s only so many carries that can be given out, and the backs are going to go out and have to earn them in training camp.