A lot is on the shoulders of second-year player Jarrett Stidham this coming season as he likely replaces Tom Brady under center.
But, appearing on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria Friday, former NFL GM and current ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum doesn't believe Stidham has to be great because of what the Patriots have in the backfield.
The former GM of the Jets and executive with the Dolphins believes the Patriots running backs room is the best of any position in the entire NFL.
“I think you can make a case that the New England Patriots running back room arguably is the best position room of any position of any team in the league," he said. "They go five and six deep. I had Brandon Bolden with the Dolphins. We rarely get to talk about (Damien) Harris, who is a really good player out of Alabama. Then you think about (Rex) Burkhead, James White and obviously Sony Michel. It is a great group. One of the things that is a critical factor when you’re defending the Patriots is can you defend the running backs in the passing game?
"I don’t think Stidham has to be great for New England to be productive this year and I don’t think there’s been enough said — look, I understand their weapons may not have been ideal a year ago, but that running back room to me is dynamic and it doesn’t necessarily have to be as runners. Damien Harris can’t even get on the field and I think he has a chance to be a really good player.”
Tannenbaum is right in the fact that Harris was selected in the third round last season, but was active for just two games. In addition, Bolden is more of a special teams player and doesn't see much time in the backfield.
Michel, Burkhead and White see the most action, but even Burkhead is a player that likely would see more reps if he was on another team.
The group as a whole wasn't really relied on much with Brady at quarterback, but now with Stidham, we'll see if that changes.