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Tom Brady acknowledges how short-handed Patriots have been at running back

Ryan Hannable
October 30, 2018 - 11:19 am

On Monday night against the Bills, the Patriots had only two active running backs -- James White and Kenjon Barner.

So, what did they do?

New England turned wide receiver/kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson into a running back and he ended up being the leading rusher with 38 yards on 10 carries.

“I think he did great," Tom Brady said Monday on Kirk & Callahan. "To be really put in that role, and the one big run he had down their sideline. I think there was more opportunity there and I am sure if he is playing there more often, he’s going to make bigger plays. He’s a threat when the ball is in his hands, whether it is at receiver, as a kick returner, or at running back."

Still, Brady acknowledged the offense needs to be better in the running game -- just 76 yards overall -- but it's also a product of who they currently have at the position.

"We have to do a better job overall in the running game," he said. "That is one thing that was probably frustrating for everybody last night. We’ve been short-handed at that position, even before Sony [Michel] got hurt. We’ll just have to try and figure out a way.”

Michel was injured against the Bears and missed Monday's game, while Rex Burkhead is on injured reserve and Jeremy Hill was lost for the season in Week 1. They really have not been replaced.

Having Patterson at running back was Josh McDaniels' idea and could be used more in the future with Patterson not getting many snaps as a receiver.

“That is stuff Josh comes up with," Brady said. "I think everyone loves when they see the ball in his hands. The better we do, the more we do it. If we gained four yards on six carries last night I am sure he wouldn’t see it again. I think there is more opportunity out there than what we came up with. Until we get some guys healthy, everyone has to do some different roles to try and help us produce and score points.”

Added Brady: “Everyone has different skill sets. You don’t want good players sitting on the sideline the entire game. Obviously, with Julian [Edelman], [Chris] Hogan and Josh [Gordon], Cordarrelle isn’t getting as many snaps at receiver as you’d like, but if he can play roles in other areas I think that is just a great benefit to help the team.”

Patterson being the Patriots' leading rusher was a reminder of just how little depth the team has at the position and maybe another back needs to be brought in, even if Michel returns soon.

One long-term injury at the position could have the team in a spot like 2015 when Steven Jackson was called in late in the year, and everyone remembers how that went.

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