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Patriots Offense the Most Balanced in Bill Belichick Era

For all the talk about the Patriots offense lacking weaponry, this is the most balanced in Bill Belichick's time with the Patriots.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski: 663 receiving yards

Julian Edelman: 556 receiving yards, 53 rushing yards

Shane Vereen: 310 rushing yards, 246 receiving yards

Brandon LaFell: 514 receiving yards

Through nine games this season, the Patriots have four players with 500 or more yards from scrimmage, with three receivers of 500 or more yards. For reference, the Patriots had one player with 500 or more yards from scrimmage last season (Stevan Ridley, 574).

This isn't just good. This is new territory.

It's pretty standard for the Patriots to have a running back with 500+ yards from scrimmage through nine games under Belichick; the team has only failed to do so thrice under his lead (2007, 2008, and 2009). In 2006, the Patriots had two backs break the mark (Corey Dillon, Laurence Maroney) and no receivers.

It's also been fairly standard to have two receivers with 500+ yards, having occured in eight of the fifteen seasons. In 2004 (David Givens) and 2005 (Deion Branch) the Patriots only had one receiver reach the plateau. In 2003, 2006, 2010, and 2013 the Patriots didn't have a single receiver hit the mark.

But to have three receivers hit 500+ yards? That's never happened under Bill Belichick. Not in the Randy Moss era. Not in the two-tight end times. Never. To have four players with 500+ yards from scrimmage? Welcome to a new age.

There have been huge outputs (Wes Welker had 1038 yards from scrimmage through nine games in 2011), and there have been down years (2003 [Kevin Faulk], 2010 [BenJarvus Green-Ellis], and 2013 [Ridley] only featured a running back with 500+ yards from scrimmage).

Gronk. Edelman. LaFell. Doing what hasn't been done before. Add in Shane Vereen and you get the most balanced offense in the Bill Belichick era.