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Patriots RB James White Deserves More Chances With His Snaps

There is one player out of the Patriots backfield that can flash electricity. He's not getting the chances he needs.

In the first half of the New England Patriots showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles, running back James White was nowhere to be found. LeGarrette Blount saw 17 snaps, Brandon Bolden played 13 snaps, and White came in third with a mere 12 snaps, including penalties.

Blount ran the ball 10 times in his snaps, served as a blocker on just one, and was the decoy of either the play action, quick screen, or end around on four snaps. He served as a blocker on the Patriots two kneel downs at the end of the half.

Bolden was far more balanced in his 13 snaps, running routes on six, carrying the ball on three, and either blocking, chipping, or serving as a decoy on four additional snaps.

White served a similar purpose as Bolden. The second-year rusher blocked or chipped four times, ran the ball once (8-yard gain in the two minute drill), and ran five routes (including a 4-yard touchdown reception). He played next to Blount on the two kneel downs.

The Patriots stayed away from giving White the ball for some reason, even though he continued to show great production in his limited opportunities.

The second half of the game was a completely different story as White led the positional group in the third quarter with 12 snaps to Blount's nine and Bolden's six, and White was the only running back to see the field in the fourth quarter's furious comeback.

White led the rushers in red zone snaps with seven, compared to just one snap for each of the other two backs, and quickly became one of quarterback Tom Brady's favorite targets in the final drives.

When the rest of the offense is filled with players not running their routes (Brandon LaFell) or dropping everything that comes their way (Scott Chandler, Keshawn Martin), someone has to step up and it can't just be Danny Amendola.

The Patriots trust White as a blocker, leaving him in to block or chip on over a third of his snaps, but they understandably don't like him as a rusher. Because of this limitation, the Patriots shouldn't increase his overall snaps. However, Josh McDaniels needs to find a way to get the ball into the hands of one of the quietly most reliable players in the offense.

White finished the day with 119 yards and a touchdown on 12 touches, for a nearly 10-yards-per-touch rate. While the bulk of the production came in the fourth quarter, it was not simply checkdowns to an outlet receiver against a prevent defense. The Eagles often left a linebacker or a defensive back in tight coverage of White, who was able to shake free from the defender to get open in his route.

The offense has really struggled since the loss of Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis because Tom Brady has no longer had multiple receivers that can get open quickly to compensate for the weak offensive line. White can join Amendola as a quick threat that Brady can rely on to get the ball and to move the chains.