Sunday, May 27, 2012

Addai faces some hurdles to find role in Pats' offense

Photo: Brad J Ward, Flickr 

Joseph Addai has been an effective tailback in the NFL for the past half dozen years, but now he's fighting prove himself to a new team.

The former Colt signed with the Patriots on May 5 after drawing very little interest in free agency. The Patriots' backfield will feature a couple of unfamilar faces in 2012, but Addai's experience and skills may prove valuable to the team.

The Patriots chose not to re-sign their leading rusher from a year ago in BenJarvis Green-Ellis in favor of second-year backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. The pair showed promise in their limited action last season, particularly Ridley, who averaged 5.1 per carry in situational and reserve duties. They are expected to handle the workload in the running game.

Addai has virtually no shot to supplant either Ridley or Vereen on the depth chart, but is talented and has a good chance to find a niche as a role player in the offense. In the Colts' high powered passing attack, Addai was effective catching the ball, but more relevantly, was a good pass protector. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady might find a player like Addai very handy either as a check down or for additional protection from the blitz.

Veteran Danny Woodhead has primarily been the Patriots' third down back for the past few seasons and has done a good job, so adding Addai wasn't a necessity. But Addai can re-establish his career and earn a roster spot through a good performance in training camp and the preseason.

Addai's deal, which was for one year and less than $1 million, is not guaranteed. The Patriots may have found a solid player for a cheap price and have essentially no risk if he can't beat out any of the other backs on the team.

Follow Sean @seanldonovan
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily