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Cobbs looking forward to backing up

There is little question who the workhorse in the New England backfield will be in 2005. After a record setting first season with the Patriots a year ago, and with a new contract extension in hand, Corey Dillon will get the ball early and often as the Patriots look to march toward an unprecedented third consecutive Super Bowl.

But even if Dillon puts in a full season at perfect health, there will be occasions for another back to carry the ball. With Kevin Faulk handling the third-down duties, the role of true backup running back would appear to be wide open.

That's where second-year player Cedric Cobbs hopes to come in. After a rookie season as New England's fourth-round pick out of Arkansas a year ago that included an early injury, time on PUP and just four games with 22 carries and 50 yards, the 6-0, 225-pound back hopes to open eyes at Patriots training camp later this summer. And that's something Cobbs admits he wasn't prepared to do a year ago.

"I wasn't [ready]," Cobbs said looking back on the early stages of his rookie season. "It was a new system. It's a lot to learn. And besides that I got hurt so that hindered me. It didn't allow me to really get to do it physically on the field."

[

28496.jpg

]()A year spent learning the system and getting his body into NFL shape has Cobbs hoping his second season as a pro allows him to display some of the talent that saw him rush for 1,329 yards on 227 carries (5.8 avg.) with 10 touchdowns during his senior season at Arkansas.

"I am definitely more in shape going through the offseason program just being up here," Cobbs said. "That's probably one of the reasons why I got hurt last year because I wasn't in shape like I am this year. Coming out last year they put a lot on me. So not being in shape and running a lot of plays can cause injury."

He also hopes to show that he knows what he's doing on the field especially in terms of pass protection, something he was never really asked to do in college.

"At Arkansas I was maybe responsible for a couple of assignments per passing scheme," Cobbs said. "Up here I am responsible every play, every pass. Every play I have a responsibility and it can change according to the defenses. At Arkansas I never had to worry about that. We were mainly a running team. That's a lot different here."

In the end Cobbs just wants a chance to show what he believes he can do at the NFL level and earn the trust of his coaches and teammates.

"This [coming] training camp, even this mini-camp is important," Cobbs said at the team's June mini-camp. "It's important that I stay in my book and go out and do well in practice. It's important to go out and have all the coaches knowing that I am going to come in and do the right thing. As long as I have that in my favor I can just go out and just play football like I usually do."

For more on Cedric Cobbs look for the July edition of Patriots Football Weekly on newsstands July 6. To subscribe to Patriots Football Weekly call 1-800-494-PATS or go to www.PFWonline.com

There is little question who the workhorse in the New England backfield will be in 2005. After a record setting first season with the Patriots a year ago, and with a new contract extension in hand, Corey Dillon will get the ball early and often as the Patriots look to march toward an unprecedented third consecutive Super Bowl.

But even if Dillon puts in a full season at perfect health, there will be occasions for another back to carry the ball. With Kevin Faulk handling the third-down duties, the role of true backup running back would appear to be wide open.

That's where second-year player Cedric Cobbs hopes to come in. After a rookie season as New England's fourth-round pick out of Arkansas a year ago that included an early injury, time on PUP and just four games with 22 carries and 50 yards, the 6-0, 225-pound back hopes to open eyes at Patriots training camp later this summer. And that's something Cobbs admits he wasn't prepared to do a year ago.

"I wasn't [ready]," Cobbs said looking back on the early stages of his rookie season. "It was a new system. It's a lot to learn. And besides that I got hurt so that hindered me. It didn't allow me to really get to do it physically on the field."

[

28496.jpg

]()A year spent learning the system and getting his body into NFL shape has Cobbs hoping his second season as a pro allows him to display some of the talent that saw him rush for 1,329 yards on 227 carries (5.8 avg.) with 10 touchdowns during his senior season at Arkansas.

"I am definitely more in shape going through the offseason program just being up here," Cobbs said. "That's probably one of the reasons why I got hurt last year because I wasn't in shape like I am this year. Coming out last year they put a lot on me. So not being in shape and running a lot of plays can cause injury."

He also hopes to show that he knows what he's doing on the field especially in terms of pass protection, something he was never really asked to do in college.

"At Arkansas I was maybe responsible for a couple of assignments per passing scheme," Cobbs said. "Up here I am responsible every play, every pass. Every play I have a responsibility and it can change according to the defenses. At Arkansas I never had to worry about that. We were mainly a running team. That's a lot different here."

In the end Cobbs just wants a chance to show what he believes he can do at the NFL level and earn the trust of his coaches and teammates.

"This [coming] training camp, even this mini-camp is important," Cobbs said at the team's June mini-camp. "It's important that I stay in my book and go out and do well in practice. It's important to go out and have all the coaches knowing that I am going to come in and do the right thing. As long as I have that in my favor I can just go out and just play football like I usually do."

For more on Cedric Cobbs look for the July edition of Patriots Football Weekly on newsstands July 6. To subscribe to Patriots Football Weekly call 1-800-494-PATS or go to www.PFWonline.com

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