The New England Patriots have had a busy offseason in 2012 signing new free agents and attempting to keep key players. While not as publicized as other signings, the acquisition of free agent running back Joseph Addai Thursday has given the Patriots assurance in their backfield.
Following the 2011 season, the Patriots lost a good running back in BenJarvis Green-Ellis which left the team to depend on two unproven running backs in Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. While these two young backs could eventually turn into great players, the Patriots are looking to win in 2012.
While Addai is not the star running back he once was that’s not what the Patriots need. The Patriots offense is built around the passing game and Addai gives the team a back with excellent blocking skills to protect quarterback Tom Brady and catch the ball out of the backfield. Those skills will be much more important to this team than a back who will rush for 1,000 yards.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick tried something new during the 2011 playoffs having tight end Aaron Hernandez line up at running back which the star tight end said he enjoyed. Despite what Hernandez would like, he is best when at his natural position and this move indicates that the team will continue to run the duel tight end system which the team succeeded with last year.
Some may question the signing of Addai claiming that it is an unneeded addition creating a crowded backfield. However, anything less than a Super Bowl victory in 2012 will be viewed as a failure and the only way the Patriots will win Super Bowl XLVII will be with Brady being healthy the entire season. Keeping their franchise star healthy will be a much less strenuous task with the experienced Addai.
The signing of free agent running back Joseph Addai may not be what many fans expected the team to do but it immediately improves the Patriots offense. A team looking to win cannot depend on unproven players and with the current group of backs the team has, that’s exactly what they’d be doing. Now the Patriots have an experienced back that brings all the qualities this specific offense needs.