BOSTON (CBS) — James White was an important receiver for Tom Brady on Sunday vs. the Bengals, as the running back caught eight passes for 47 yards and, most importantly, two touchdowns.
It was, by most accounts, a strong performance. But Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bedard thinks otherwise.
“I will say, one of the most misleading lines as far as people talking about him having a good performance, was James White in this game,” Bedard said Tuesday on Felger & Massarotti. “I mean, look at all of his catches. I mean, there’s nobody within five, 10 yards of him. And both of his touchdowns, it’s turn around, catch the ball, outrun a linebacker. I mean, it’s simple.”
The touchdowns showed up on the final stat sheet, but several other plays did not.
“Gave up a sack, he had a screen pass where he ran the wrong way, there were a couple of runs where he ran right into stuff,” Bedard said. “That position is a problem for them. James White is not a source of strength for them right now.”
Bedard said that LeGarrette Blount is fine as the No. 1 back, but the Patriots need somebody — either Dion Lewis or someone from outside the organization — to be able to take the carries that are going to White.
“They need to — and the Broncos game showed this, we talked about this with the AFC Championship Game — they have to be able to run the ball against sub packages,” Bedard said. “And now that they have [Martellus] Bennett and [Rob Gronkowski], we saw it on the first play, we saw sprinklings, where they go inverted with the tight ends on the outside and the receivers on the inside. How do you defend that? Do you put the [linebackers] out on the tight ends? If you do that, then you leave a light box.”
Bedard said the strategy worked for the first play of the game on Sunday, but then proved unsuccessful thereafter.
“They had trouble with that at times in the rest of the game,” Bedard said. “They need a guy who is not a third-down back, like James White. They need another option to LeGarrette Blount. And D.J. Foster is not it.”
Watch Bedard explain the situation in the video above.