Running back Joseph Addai was once one of the NFL’s most productive running backs. He was not only a threat running the ball, but he also presented a threat as a receiver.
Addai’s last impressive season came in 2009 with the Indianapolis Colts when he ran for 828 yards and 10 touchdowns as well as recording 51 receptions for 336 yards and three touchdowns.
Since then, Addai has been extremely inconsistent due to his inability to stay healthy. From 2010 until 2011, Addai missed a total of 12 games for the Colts.
With Indianapolis choosing to part ways with the 29-year-old running back, the New England Patriots decided to give him a chance at earning a role in their high-flying offensive attack.
Addai is currently on a one-year deal with the Patriots. He’s set to earn $1.069 million in 2012—but will he even make the team’s roster? It’s safe to say that Addai is one of many players that are on the roster bubble heading into training camp.
Entering 2012, the Patriots have a pretty crowded running back corps despite losing BenJarvus Green-Ellis to the Cincinnati Bengals via free agency. New England is set to enter training camp with running backs Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Bolden and the veteran Addai.
There’s no debate that Ridley, Vereen and Woodhead will be on New England’s roster, as each of them have defined roles. Ridley and Vereen are both entering their second season in the league and should carry most of the workload while Woodhead is the team’s third-down running back.
So where does that leave Addai?
There is just one role that Addai could take over for the Patriots, and that could be a veteran presence in New England’s very young, yet talented, backfield. Also, out of the team’s current running backs, Addai is the clear-cut most efficient pass-protector and is really good at picking up blitzes—something that Green-Ellis flourished with.
With Green-Ellis now gone, Addai could fill the role as a veteran leader as well as being incorporated in the passing game as not only a receiver, but as a pass-protector for quarterback Tom Brady.
As long as Addai can stay healthy, then he should be used in passing situations, but there is still a solid chance that Addai can prove that he still has something left in the tank, despite nearing the age of 30.
For all we know, Addai could end up being one of Brady’s most lethal weapons in 2012, along with Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Lloyd.