Unlike previous years, the New England Patriots have quite an impressive backfield with three very talented running backs.
Steven Ridley has pretty much established himself as the premier back in New England by putting up solid statistics in 2012. In the Brady era, there really hasn't been a reliable running back, with the exception of Corey Dillon in 2004. Ridley gives the Patriots that reliable option in goal line situations, as well as almost every down. There is no question that we will be seeing Ridley get the majority of carries in New England this year.
The second running back on the depth chart is third year running back Shane Vereen. Vereen is a quick "scat back", almost similar to former Patriots running back Kevin Faulk. He made his mark last year on Thanksgiving night against the New York Jets where he had an 83 yard catch and run for a touchdown. Vereen will also see an increase in production due to the fact that Danny Woodhead signed this offseason with the San Diego Chargers. Whether it is running the ball or catching the ball, Vereen will have a big impact on this upcoming season.
This offseason, the Patriots acquired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount. Blount is a power back who is most known for sucker punching a Boise State player, which caused him to be suspended for the entire 2009 season at Oregon. He has since cleaned up his act, and became a power back rushing for over 1,000 yards in his first season in Tampa. Running back Doug Martin had an amazing rookie season and ultimately took Blount's spot in Tampa Bay. Blount will ultimately be the short yardage back for New England because of his power abilities. It will be interesting to see if Blount gives Ridley a run for his money at the running back position.
Finally, there is running back Leon Washington. Washington is more of a returner for kickoffs and punts. He does not have the ability to be an every down back and will only be used in special teams situations most likely.