Brady: James White has 'earned everybody's trust'


The Patriots lost a dynamic and juicy element to their offense when scatback Dion Lewis suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 9, but New England always has a backup plan.

Second-year running back James White has evolved into a steady contributor over the past month, seeing a season-high 51 snaps against the Eagles in Week 13 and 27 targets through the air over the past four games. Used more heavily as a pass-catcher, White's growth has impressed quarterback Tom Brady.

"I think he's earned everybody's trust, not just mine," Brady said, per CSN New England. "He's done a great job for our team when he's been in there. He's very dependable, consistent. He made a great play the other night (against Houston) on that catch to give him the chance to go up over the top of a safety. He runs it good. He's smart, he's tough. When he's been available, whenever he's been called upon, he's answered the bell."

White and Brandon Bolden are the only two backs on the active roster. With White carrying the ball just eight times over the past month, coach Bill Belichick pointed to Bolden as the runner who could see a heavier workload in terms of carries. Still, you can't go the rest of the way with just two backs on the depth chart, so we expect New England to also activate Montee Ball or fullback Joey Iosefa off the practice squad.

No team in the league does a better job of plugging unknowns into their backfield, only to have those runners emerge as key producers. The depth here, though, is a concern. After trying out Steven Jackson on Wednesday, the Patriots are a candidate to further churn the roster and likely add another runner off the free-agent market before January. Trent Richardson, anyone?