Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/6/12

When Benjarvus Green-Ellis left for Cincinnati, he left the security of a non-fumbling, hard running dependable back for one of the young Patriots backs to inherit.

Stevan Ridley looks to the starter, but after him, question marks are everywhere. When we looked at the offensive line as having their problems coming together, the running backs haven't particularly shined either. Ridley looks as if he could be a very good NFL back.

The most important aspect of the running back in the Patriots offense is pass blocking, not rushing the ball. The running back has to make the right pick up, and mistakes can be very costly. Ridley is stout enough to stone a linebacker; but he has to prove he can hold up under intense fire.

Shane Vereen is starting to look fragile, and quite frankly, he may stay on the sideline a lot because he just can't pass block. In practice and in preseason games, he was simply thrown around amid the mauling of Tom Brady. His big play potential is offset by his injury history and poor pass blocking.

Danny Woodhead is a very reliable running back for five to ten touches a game. His small size limits him, but he gives full effort in pass blocking and has good technique. However, techniques can’t make up for size, thus he will get overpowered if he isn’t perfect in execution.

It’s clear that Brandon Boldin made the team as a pure running back, but as a punt returner, not so much; he might as well have tried catching the ball with his face mask. On the other hand, Boldin as a runner is strong and decisive, and if he can pick up the blocks for Brady, could move up the depth chart quickly.

This group has a lot to prove. There is a lot of potential, but as Bill Parcells always said: “Potential means you haven’t done any thing yet.”

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