Monday, November 9, 2015

Lewis Done With ACL Tear; Patriots Back To "Plan A"

Well, back to "Plan A".

Before Dion Lewis burst onto the scene in Foxborough, Patriots' fans were resigned to the fact that James White was the heir-apparent to Shane Vereen's old gig as New England's passing back. Resigned, in that the seldom-used White is mostly untested, and didn't exactly light the world on fire in the chances that he did get.

That said, Ladies and Gentlemen, meet James White.

Lewis, the unexpected "Plan B", tore his ACL on Sunday afternoon as he finished off a 13-yard catch and run, and will be placed on the team's injured reserved list today, leaving White and veteran special teamer Brandon Bolden as the teams' designated passing backs.

Lewis' season ends with 36 receptions to his credit for 388 yards combined with 234 yards on 49 rushing attempts - his 622 yards from scrimmage third on the team behind tight end Rob Gronkowski (693) and receiver Julian Edelman (639) - many of his yards coming on highlight reel plays that displayed his video game-like elusiveness.

The Patriots do have many options, however.

They could decide to roll with White and Bolden to offer a change of pace for lead back LeGarrette Blount's power running style, as White has some elusiveness and has sure hands while Bolden is a bigger back with nice hands, but they could also pick up the phone and ask Travaris Cadet to come back - which makes sense given he was with the Patriots through training camp and was cut to make room for bigger needs on the roster, since the position was so well manned already.

If they decide to stand pat on what they have on the roster for backs, the Patriots could fill Lewis' roster spot with an offensive lineman from the practice squad - Chris Barker and Blaine Clausell are available - or they could activate linebacker Dane Fletcher or defensive tackle Chris Jones from the PUP list.

Still, rumors abound. This afternoon, Twitter was ablaze with pleads from fans for the team to sign former Ravens' bad boy Ray Rice, and also unconfirmed reports that former Rams and Falcons lead back Steven Jackson being spotted in Foxborough...

....and both would make sense, as the 27 year old Rice has logged 369 receptions for over 3000 yards in his six seasons in the league, while the 32 year old Jackson has 460 receptions for over 3600 yards from scrimmage - but it makes more sense to see if White steps up.

Why? He was drafted with the intent of taking over for former Patriot Shane Vereen, and spent all of last season on the active roster in preparation for taking on the role, and is more in the mold of Vereen than Lewis, with some elusiveness in the open field and some power between the tackles - but it would be a mistake for anyone to expect any of the aforementioned options to perform at the level that the explosive Lewis has.

And that's the bitch-kitty here. People are enamoured with what Lewis can do, and may be unwilling to accept and give a chance to White, but chances are excellent that Belichick will stay the course, going "back" to Plan A now that the pleasantly unexpected Plan B is down for the season...

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