White hopes to 'mimic' Lewis's ability to elude defenders

White hopes to 'mimic' Lewis's ability to elude defenders

FOXBORO -- James White knows that while he and Dion Lewis play the same position, they aren't the same player. With Lewis set to begin the season on the physically unable to perform list, White may see more work, but he's not expecting to do exactly what Lewis did before tearing his ACL last season. 

"I'm always gonna be myself," White said on Monday. "Your role can change on the team each and every year. Whatever my role happens to be, I'm gonna go out there, do it to the best of my ability, and just try to help this team win."

Here's what we can say about White after watching him see his workload increase following Lewis' injury: He is a talented receiving back. 

He was graded by Pro Football Focus as the third-best pass-catching back in the league last season behind Detroit's Theo Riddick and San Diego's Danny Woodhead. He caught 85 percent of the targets thrown his way, and he was ninth in the league among running backs who qualified with an average of 10.3 yards per catch. 

His 2.07 yards per route run, according to PFF, was actually a better mark than Lewis posted (1.94) in 2015, and the 11 tackles White eluded as a receiver were good enough for a spot in the top-20 among running backs.

That quality to make people miss in space has been on display throughout training camp, and White said that watching Lewis on a daily basis last season may have made him more effective in that regard. 

It certainly has him thinking more creatively.

"Definitely. He's one of the -- I think -- one of the best players in the league at eluding defenders," White said of Lewis. "You can watch film on him, see what he does, ask him questions. It kind of speaks for itself. You try to mimic people sometimes, and try to [rep] it in practice. When it comes down to the games, just try to do it and do it fast."

Where White had issues last season was when the team asked him to serve as a ball-carrier out of the backfield. He forced just one missed tackle in 22 attempts last season, which was the least of any back in the league who played in 25 percent of his teams offensive snaps. He was also last in the league in terms of total yards after contact and yards after contact per attempt. His 2.5 yards per carry was the lowest mark in the league among backs who qualified, per PFF. 

White, 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds, showed the ability to run between the tackles in a run-heavy offense in Wisconsin, accumulating 4,015 yards on the ground in four seasons. The 2014 fourth-round selection indicated that with another year in the Patriots offense under his belt, that part of the game -- running among the trees at the line of scrimmage -- will improve. 

"It happens," he said. "You're not going to be great at everything at the start. You have to be patient with it sometimes . . . Just working hard during practice at it. That's when you're going to get the most work when you're in pads. Trusting the run reads. Knowing what you have to read, and just running hard."

If White can provide the Patriots with some production in that area, proving to be a respectable dual threat in order to keep opposing defenses honest, he won't have to be Dion Lewis for the offense to succeed. Given the talent around him and the skill set he showed last season, being himself should be more than enough.

Martellus Bennett: NFL players just want to smoke weed and play video games

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Martellus Bennett: NFL players just want to smoke weed and play video games

Martelllus Bennett was released by the Patriots earlier this month after reappearing for a two-game cameo following his controversial exit from Green Bay last season.

As he ponders whether to play again, it's probably to safe to guess what he's been spending his time doing. It's what he says all NFL players want to do in the offseason. 

The outspoken tight end talked about the goals of every NFL player in an interview with Complex's "Out of Bounds". 

"You hand the guy a book and they're like...get that thing away from me!" Bennett said, laughing as he fumbled a book. "That thing is the devil. A book? That's the devil!"

Change to pass-interference rule is WAY overdue

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Change to pass-interference rule is WAY overdue

Yes, please, on the proposed adjustment to defensive pass interference. No, thank you on the revised catch rule.

And I know I'm going to have my dreams crushed on both counts.

Despite all the arm-flapping and breath wasted that "NOBODY KNOWS WHAT A CATCH IS ANYMORE!!!!", long-distance pass interference has been a bigger bugaboo for the league for a much longer time.

In 2017, there were 129 pass interference calls longer than 15 yards. The proposed rule change that will be debated at next week's NFL Annual Meeting will make pass interference a 15-yard penalty unless it's egregious and intentional. In those cases, it will continue to be a spot foul

So overdue. For too long offenses have been rewarded by officials on 50-50 balls where DBs and receivers engage in subtle handfighting. It's absolutely illogical to expect middle-aged officials in okay (or worse) shape to keep pace with Gronk-sized receivers and whippet-quick defenders, then make calls on plays 40 yards downfield.

If you're going to throw a flag that gives the offense 40 yards, there should be an extreme degree of certainty accompanies that flag. And too often, the officials are forced to make educated guesses. Next thing you know, Joe Flacco and Rex Grossman are in the Super Bowl.

It's probably the most difficult penalty to call in football, yet it carries the greatest punishment for a defense? What sense does that make? 

I actually think the NFL should go a step beyond and make pass interference reviewable. I'll even make this concession -- it's reviewable only for DPI that puts the ball inside the 10 and is longer than 15 yards. How's that?

"More reviews?!?!? We don't need more reviews?!?!?!"

Okay, but you'll accept them when a dimwit coach argues a spot on a three-yard run that may or may not mean a first down, but not on a play that hands the offense half the field? Come on. Forward thinking.

As for the contention corners are going to begin bludgeoning receivers once they realize they're being beaten deep -- BAM! -- that's where you get the aggravated pass interference (API . . . trademarked 2018) that can be dropped on their heads.

A DB that doesn't turn to face the ball and runs through a receiver? An arm bar all the way downfield preventing a receiver from getting his hands up? A way-too-early arrival? That's API and it's a spot foul. What are the possible negative consequences?

It will now spawn debate as to what's aggravated PI and just garden variety PI. And it asks officials to make another judgment call.

But the truth is, it already is -- in many cases -- a judgment call. And if I were an official reaching for my flag on a Hail Mary from the 43 at the end of the game where there was jostling, I'd sure as hell be happy that I have the option to call garden variety PI and put the ball at the 28 rather than put the ball at the 1.

It's a rule change that makes the game better. That way you don't have calls like this or this. This 55-yarder would be an API (defender hugs Crabtree).

Tellingly, there's no outcry about the need to reform pass interference NOW like there is about the catch rule. You know what needs to happen? A few more plays like this where the Patriots profit. Then you'll see a damn MOVEMENT!