The New England Patriots are going to have to get running back James White more involved, no matter how much they seem to drag their feet.
Injuries to Dion Lewis and ineffectiveness from LeGarrette Blount seemed to open up opportunities for the Patriots 2014 4th round pick, but it seemed like offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and quarterback Tom Brady were only comfortable using White as a blocker. Passing plays instead went to Danny Amendola and running plays went to Brandon Bolden.
But an injury to Amendola and Blount led to more targets and an increased role for White as the Patriots started to operate with more two-running back sets with both White and Bolden in the backfield. White hasn't disappointed.
"I think [White]'s earned everybody's trust, not just mine," Brady said on Wednesday. "He's done a great job for our team when he's been in there. He's very dependable, consistent. He made a great play the other night on that catch to give him the chance to go up over the top of a safety. He runs it good. He's smart, he's tough. When he's been available, whenever he's been called upon he's answered the bell."
The receiving back position has always been a cornerstone in the Patriots offense, whether it was Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead, or Shane Vereen. Lewis broke the mold by being a convincing rusher, but White is a perfect match with his predecessors. The offense is always better when Brady can rely on his rushers.
"That's a really important position for us," Brady continued. "It always has been over the years. Because we're such a passing oriented offense, I think that role as a sub back is so critical. And it's not just catching, but it's also blitz pickup. It's really gaining the confidence of everybody that you know what to do, you know how to do it."
Everything starts on the practice field and White has never been in want of praise from the coaching staff. Now everyone has been able to see his contributions in game situations, and he has disappointed.
White needs to be a bigger part of this offense. He can be trusted to succeed.