Source: Boston Herald
There's no identity crisis with the Patriots offense, but Thursday turned out to be one of those rare nights when the running game outshined the passing attack.
Shane Vereen paced the four running backs with 11 carries for 64 yards against the New Orleans Saints in the preseason opener at Gillette Stadium, and the group combined for 28 carries and 130 yards (4.6 average) in the Pats' 7-6 victory.
Conversely, quarterbacks Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett combined to complete 20-of-41 passes for 153 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The game was dominated by backups, so no firm conclusions can be made based on the numbers. However, Vereen and Stevan Ridley (eight carries, 40 yards) showed the flash that the team needs with BenJarvus Green-Ellis no longer in the mix.
"I think we came out and did what the coaches asked us to do and did an OK job," Ridley said. "I know there are going to be improvements they're going to ask us to make."
Ridley worked with the starting unit and ran with good purpose to alleviate some stress from Brady, who was pressured several times off the edge. Ridley was also split out wide, which might be an indication the coaches are comfortable with using him in all situations.
Vereen didn't play until the second half, but he contributed seven carries for 63 yards and one reception for 10 yards during the offense's lone scoring drive. He showed good decision between the tackles and was quick to break containment off the edge of the line.
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