New England Patriots upgrading their ground attack

Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

Bill Belichick’s team had its offensive issues in 2022. Hence, the New England Patriots are making a significant addition to their backfield.

No matter how you break it down, 2022 proved to be a very rough year for the New England Patriots when it came to the offensive side of the football. Don’t be fooled by the fact that Bill Belichick’s team finished in the middle of the pack (17th) when it came to scoring points. That’s because this club came up with eight return touchdowns in 17 contests, including five pick-sixes.

That means the Patriots’ offensive unit managed only 31 visits to the end zone in 17 contests. There were 12 scores on the ground (5 by leading rusher Rhamondre Stevenson) and 19 TD passes courtesy of quarterback Mac Jones (14) and Bailey Zappe (5).

Only six teams in the NFL this past season averaged fewer total yards per game than Belichick’s squad. The Pats ranked 24th in rushing yards per contest (106.6), this despite 1,040 yards on 210 carries by Stevenson. The team’s second-leading rusher a year ago was Damien Harris, now a member of the Buffalo Bills.

Now it appears that the Patriots have their own new member when it comes to the ground game.

It also appears that the former Dallas Cowboys standout and two-time NFL rushing champion is confirming a bit of that news.

Ezekiel Elliott was the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. After seven seasons, 10,598 yards from scrimmage and 80 total touchdowns with the franchise, the three-time Pro Bowler was released by the Cowboys earlier this year. He comes off a year in which he ran for 876 yards on 231 attempts, 21 more carries than Stevenson.

It should also be noted that the seven-year pro ran for a team-high 12 scores for Dallas in 2022. That’s as many rushing touchdowns as the Patriots totaled in 17 games as a team this past season.

With all of the new faces in the AFC East this offseason, some feel that Belichick and company may be the fourth-best team in the division. The addition of Elliott may now change some of those early predictions.