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The Patriots Need Another Running Back on their 53-Man Roster

New England is getting dangerously thin at the running back position – and they need to do something.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Before running back LeGarrette Blount went down with an injury during yesterday's 27-6 victory over the Houston Texans, he rushed for 53 yards on 10 carries. Blount gave the Patriots running game a much needed spark against a very talented defense, and for the first time in weeks looked good. Alas, he left the game with a hip injury and did not return.

While Brandon Bolden had a nice game filling in for the team's number one ball carrier, Blount's injury again showed that New England is potentially vulnerable at the running back position due to the lack of depth. After Dion Lewis went down in week 9, New England never really used his spot on the 53-man roster to sign another runner. Instead, the team opted to go with Blount, Bolden and 3rd down back James White.

Blount's injury – depending on its severity – may leave the team with only two healthy running backs on the 53-man roster entering next Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans (and beyond). While both Bolden and White have shown flashes of being capable running backs, they are unproven when it comes to being the Blount-like work-horse, carrying the ground game on a consistent basis.

Yesterday, the running game looked good at times against one of the better defensive fronts in the NFL. Having a balanced attack also allowed the team to better mask its offensive line deficiencies, as the defenders couldn't simply pin their ears back and go after Tom Brady. While the line play was far from perfect, the performance was clearly better than in the previous couple of weeks.

This is clear: even if Blount should miss time due to his hip injury, the Patriots have to run the ball.

If Bolden works as the number one ball carrier in Blount's possible absence, the team still needs a back-up plan: he and White will see more snaps and thus exposure to hits. Currently, the Patriots have the duo as the only two healthy running backs on their 53-man roster. They also have undrafted rookies Trey Williams and Joey Iosefa, who is a fullback, on the practice squad. The team, if only for depth purposes, either needs to promote one of the two or find a free agent to sign to the active roster.

New England is thin at running back, there is no denying that. The team needs to make sure that it can still field a competitive running game, though, and not one that is another potential injury away from making the offense too one-dimentional.