New England Patriots PreSeason Watch - Running Backs - Updated 8/17/2009

Contiuing the position battles: (Previously QB WR)

The Running Backs:

39 Laurence Maroney RB 5-11 220 2/5/1985 4
33 Kevin Faulk RB 5-8 202 6/5/1976 11
42 BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB 5-11 215 7/2/1985 2
44 Eric Kettani RES/MIL RB 5-11 235 3/26/1987 R
34 Sammy Morris RB 6-0 220 3/23/1977 10
21 Fred Taylor RB 6-1 228 1/27/1976 12 * Jaguars
35 Chris Taylor Added! RB 6-0 224 11/7/1983 12 * Jaguars

Last year the Pats carried 6 backs at times on the active roster moving BenJarvus Green-Ellis in after Maroney was injured.  This year Heath Evans left and the fullback job remains open.

Prior to training camp I picked Maroney, Taylor, Morris and Faulk to split carries.  No fullback.  Eric Kettani heading to the practice squad.

The update after the jump.

 The Pat's have done a major RBBC (Running Back By Commitee) of late, and this year it won't change.  Against the Eagles we saw Dave Thomas take some of the Full Back duties as I predicted earlier, and I think we'll still see Russ Hochstein filling that role on goal line as he did in the Cardinals game last year.

We didn't see Taylor in the Eagles game, but I'm pretty sure Bill Belichick knows what he brings and isn't too concerned.  Taylor has looked good in practice: he has some moves and some downhill speed.  There is gas in the tank for a season or two.

Laurence Maroney has had a good camp so far, but was still indecisive hitting the hole against the Eagles (#1 defense).  Several people have commented that the O-Line provided no hole to hit.  This needs to be a big year for him, and I believe Belichick will hang onto him even if his preseason is underwhelming.  That is as long as he shows effort and improves.  We want a feature back, but don't necessarily need one.  While Maroney has shown glimpses, consistency is the word that springs readily from Belichick's lips.  We haven't seen that at all, and it's costing us alot of roster spots on running backs.

Sammy Morris is another aging back that continues to perform well.  He's carried significant portions of the load for two seasons, and showed a nice sustained drive against the Eagles.  There's no elite speed, or LT-like moves, but he is a consistent and capable back.  When he decides to go, there is no hesitation.

Faulk is the ultility back who had a very nice 9 yard run against the Eagles.  We'll hang onto him this year and possibly more, but what is the long term plan?  Faulk is one of the two players that pre-date Belichick (Bruschi is the other).  While he looks good, there has to be a replacement plan in place.  Is that guy on the roster, or have we yet to draft him? 

Eric Kettani filled the Full Back role in college, but is now filling his service commitment.  We'll see him after his military stint, and maybe he'll be able to help us out down the road.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (BJGE as Marima calls him or Law Firm as some of the Pats call him) did a good job stepping in last year when needed.  He did a good deal of running last year with Heath Evans providing some blocking.  His showing against the Eagles wasn't overly impressive.  If anyone on the roster is going to fill the utility back role long term, it will be Green-Ellis.  He isn't eligible for the practice squad, so we either keep him or cut him.  He played some Special Teams against the Eagles, and we'll have to keep an eye on him in the rest of the pre-season games.

As the preseason games continue, look for number of carries, yards per carry, blocking contributions, receptions / screen options, and special teams play (pretty much anywhere on the field).  Right now, I'd say we're keeping the lot of them, but we're still a long way from Week 1.

What's your take?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> UPDATE <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

8/17/2009 - The Patriots have added Chris Taylor from the Houstan Texans.

The views expressed in these FanPosts are not necessarily those of the writers or SBNation.

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