The New England Patriots would love to have veteran running back James White available when the season begins this fall, but that is beginning to look like a long shot. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, White was walking with what was described as “an uncomfortable gait.”
White’s versatility and leadership have been invaluable for the Patriots over the past several seasons, but New England may be forced to make do without the 30-year-old early in the year.
White injured his hip during a Week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints last year, and it appears there is still some level of a hindrance after surgery. The Patriots are very deep at running back after drafting Pierre Strong Jr. out of South Dakota St. and Kevin Harris from South Carolina. Adding the two rookies to a running back room that already included Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson added the sort of depth that most teams covet at any position.
Did it also make White expendable?
A Closer Look at the Patriots’ RB Situation
Harris is the guy who would appear to be in line for the majority of the carries, but Stevenson should be expected to push him hard in this area. The second-year running back may have a higher ceiling because of his versatility, which includes more natural receiving talent, but it depends on how much progress he has made since his rookie season.
Stevenson finished second to Harris in rushing yards in 2021. While Harris paced the Patriots’ running game with 929 yards and 15 TDs, Stevenson had 606 yards on the ground and 5 TDs. If Stevenson shows that he can handle the third-down duties that White has proven to be so efficient with during his career, New England may not miss a beat.
White has 381 receptions for 3,278 yards and 25 TDs in his career, so Stevenson has a ways to go to fill those shoes. The lack of an experienced back in that role could keep the Patriots attached to White for a little longer.
Free-agent acquisition Ty Montgomery is a dark horse in the race to fill White’s role. Originally a running back, Montgomery has played something of a RB-WR hybrid much of his career.
The 29-year-old has almost as many receiving yards (1,104) as he has rushed in his career (1,180). In any case, it is unlikely to see the Patriots keep more than 5 running backs on their roster going into the 2022 season.
Patriots Notes and Quotes
Matthew Judon Doesn’t Like His Madden Ratings
It’s that time of year again. Ratings for the newest iteration of Madden NFL are rolling in. Patriots start edge rusher Matthew Judon was seemingly displeased with his ratings set for the launch of Madden 23.
According to Madden’s overall rankings, Judon didn’t make the list of the NFL’s top-10 edge rushers. Judon isn’t sweating it too much as he intends on editing his ratings to his satisfaction.
Judon is perhaps looking at doing some maintenance to push himself to a 99 overall rating and set to launch a franchise mode. Madden 23 will feature an improved franchise mode this year with a heavier emphasis on enhancing the free-agent and NFL Draft experience. If Judon has free reign, the Patriots won’t need an edge rusher any time soon.
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