The tackle-breaking satellite back gave the undefeated Patriots an unusual player who generated headaches for opponents and yardage and points for his own team.
An overly-hyped rookie two summers ago, White has mustered just 16 carries and 12 catches over two seasons as a backup. Behind the scenes, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is expressing optimism in White's development.
"James is a very consistent guy," McDaniels said, per Tom E. Curran of CSN New England. "He comes to work. He's got a great attitude and approach, is always prepared to go in and fulfill any of the roles that we have for our backs."
McDaniels praised White's "blitz pickup" and ability to catch "the football well out of the backfield," adding: "I'm sure James will be prepared, and will give our team everything he has. ... He'll have an opportunity now to step in there and play a little bit more with Dion's situation."
The Patriots need tangible on-field proof that White can shred a defense before handing him a Lewis-sized piece of the pie. The running joke in New England is that Bill Belichick could start anyone in the backfield -- Kate Winslet, Gregg Rosenthal, Chelsea Clinton, whoever -- and see them run for 200-plus yards and three scores.