FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 4: Joseph Addai #29 of the Indianapolis Colts is stopped by Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots in the second half at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The New England Patriots continued filling the few holes that they have on their roster yesterday, by reportedly reaching a contract agreement with free agent running back Joseph Addai. Addai comes over from the Indianapolis Colts, and is viewed by many as the replacement for the departed BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the Patriots' backfield.
Addai, a six-year pro out of LSU, has spent his entire career with the Colts alongside Peyton Manning. Over his career, he has totaled 4,453 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns on the ground and 191 receptions and nine touchdowns as a receiver. He earned a Pro-Bowl berth in 2007 and earned a Super Bowl ring in his rookie year.
His production in the NFL has been limited, due to a shoulder injury in 2010 and a nagging hamstring in 2011. Because of it, Addai has only seen 20 starts in his past two years in the league. However, with the Patriots also considering fellow free agents Ryan Grant and Tim Hightower, they must believe that Addai is back at full strength. Assuming they are right, let's take a look at what he could bring to the table in 2012:
Check out what Addai brings to his new team, after the jump!
A Versatile Option In Both The Running And Passing Game
One thing that Bill Belichick loves in all of the players he coaches is their versatility. There ability to do more things than what their position requires. For Addai, it's his ability to not only take the ball and run up field, but to catch passes out of the backfield for positive yardage. Over his career, Addai has averaged a very solid four yards a carry and about seven yards per reception. Not to mention, he's been highly accredited for his blocking ability on passing downs.
The Patriots currently have a mixture of backs that do different things. Stevan Ridley is solid runner who's strengths lye in his bursts of speed and tackle breaking. Shane Vereen is a solid outside runner who is built around speed and speed alone. Danny Woodhead is an excellent receiving option out of the backfield for Tom Brady to target. With BenJarvus Green-Ellis and (most likely) Kevin Faulk out the door, the Pats are getting another multiple-tooled running back who can perform at the high level that they want.
A Reliable Back Who Can Play On Any Down
In today's league, teams are starting to implore both a two-down back and a third-down or short yardage power back. For instance, the Chargers did it with Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert; the Raiders with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush; The Giants with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. With the Patriots addition on Addai, they don't need to worry about that sort of thing. They can use him in almost any situation.
While in Indy, Addai was used primarily as a three-down back, with Donald Brown coming in intermittently to spell him. He's got the ability to break a few tackles a burst for a big gain, while also reliability for his coaches to leave him in on third down to try and pick up the extra couple of yards.
'The Law Firm' was one of the best in the league at protecting the football and fighting for the extra few yards. Heck, the guy has never fumbled. Over his six-year pro career, Addai has only fumbled seven times. He's no Law Firm, but he's up there in terms of reliable NFL running backs.
An Experienced, Savvy Veteran Presence
A six-year NFL pro may not have seen everything that the next guy has, but he'll be considered the "wise owl" of the Patriots backfield. With inexperience clearly being a factor with Ridley (one season), Vereen (one season) and Woodhead (three seasons), Addai's veteran presence should be welcomed.
Addai not only has six years in the league, but spent five of those working closely with Peyton Manning in the Colts offense. We saw last year with the Chad Ochocinco epidemic, that chemistry with one's quarterback is one of the most underrated things you need to have. With Addai having worked with Manning, he has likely developed an intelligence that most NFL running backs don't have. This unique time of working under Manning could make his transition into the Patriots offensive system under Tom Brady a lot easier.