Not very many teams around the league can afford to carry five running backs but, then again, not very many teams are the New England Patriots.
After signing Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee in the offseason to pair with Dion Lewis and James White, it appeared that Brandon Bolden would be the odd-man out this preseason. In fact, Bolden was released when the Patriots cut from 90 players down to 53, but that move was simply temporary.
Bolden was back two days later and, now in his sixth season in the organization, he’s continuing to prove his value regularly despite the fact that he’s a running back who hasn’t played a single snap on offense all year.
“Brandon, like a lot of players on our team, understands his role, knows what it is and works very hard to excel at it and does excel at it,” Belichick said according to Doug Kyed of NESN.com. “The things that he knows he’s going to do that are his important roles that we know are going to be there for this game or for each game, he prepares hard for those, he does a good job of them, he’s very dependable, and if we need him to do more, then he would do his best to give us more.
“And that’s, I think, the most leadership any player can give you is to do his job and to be ready to do whatever else you need him to do, and that’s on a daily basis, not just on Sunday.”
Considering that the Patriots also carry a fullback, it’s highly unusual that the Patriots would carry five running backs. However, Bolden’s special teams reliability has earned a place alongside Matthew Slater as a must-roster reserve and the stability they provide for that unit is clearly critical to the franchise’s success.
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