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Samsonite Make Your Case: Lead the way
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The Patriots have been productive on offense for most of the season, but most of that production has come from the passing game. Against the Jets in Week 6, the running game began to show signs of life.
Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, Dion Lewis saw his most extensive action of the season in that game, picking up 52 yards on 11 carries. That led to some questions in PFW Land ... specifically, should Lewis be getting more playing time?
PFW's Paul Perillo says ...
The Patriots have traditionally been a team that employs a backfield-by-committee approach. That's fine when there are a lot of similar options. At this time I feel Dion Lewis is by far the best option Bill Belichick has at his disposal and it's time to see if he can recapture some of his 2015 magic.
Two years ago Lewis was dynamic as the lead back. Fans remember the highlight-reel plays as a receiver, making guys miss in space and picking up chunks of yards. But I feel like sometimes they forget about the production he provided between the tackles, running through defenders and churning out the tough yards as the lead ball carrier.
Lewis is the team's best all-around back and he needs to get the ball more often so he can prove it.
PFW's Andy Hart says ...
Everyone remembers how good Dion Lewis was back in 2015 when he was the surprise of the NFL. He dazzled defenses every week - until he got hurt and couldn't do it anymore. Unfortunately that's a big part of Lewis' history, and if Bill Belichick wants to rely on him as heavily as he did then, I'm afraid the same fate awaits.
Lewis simply lacks the frame to withstand the punishment that comes with 20 touches a week, especially if many of those touches come in the trenches where much bigger men are doling out significant punishment.
Lewis is admittedly the best option at running back but Mike Gillislee needs to stay in the mix in order to help both stay fresh and productive. Lewis will have games where he carries the load, but that can't be the case each and every week.
Now it's your turn to cast a vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.