Positive signs coming from Patriots’ run game in camp


The New England Patriots offense has left plenty to be desired so far in training camp, but it provided a reason for optimism on Tuesday.

After struggling mightily with Bill Belichick's new-look offense in Monday's session, the unit finally found some success with the running game. Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Ty Montgomery put together a strong collective performance in the Patriots' new outside zone running scheme. 

Perry: Five names to watch during Patriots preseason opener

On a new episode of the Next Pats Podcast, our Phil Perry shares more details on how the new-look offense showed signs of life.

Next Pats Podcast: How Bill Belichick’s new-look offense showed SIGNS OF LIFE | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube

"It looks like one of the foundational pieces of this offense moving forward will be this outside zone running scheme or wide zone running scheme or the stretch runs," Perry said. "I thought practice number 11 for the Patriots outside in full pads on Tuesday was their best practice as far as that stuff went, on the ground at least. We saw early in an 11-on-11 scout team period a Damien Harris outside zone, 'Hey, there's actually some running room there.' Which was hard to come by even in scout team periods. ...


"Then we saw it again later. Outside zone to Rhamondre Stevenson, touchdown in the first 11-on-11, 1s v. 1s, fully competitive period. Room to run. These runs had been essentially 12, 13-car pileups if you're talking about the number of bodies that just amassed in the middle of the field as the offensive line is trying to generate some kind of running room, some kind of cutback lane."

New England's offensive coaches and players hope Tuesday was a breakthrough as it's been tough sledding otherwise for the running game throughout most of camp.

"There's been no running room on these plays consistently throughout the course of camp. When one hits, as it did four or five practices ago, you can hear jubilation from the offensive sidelines," Perry said. "There was one, again, four or five practice ago, I'm talking about the same play because there have been so few that have actually worked and worked to a reasonably noticeable or significant degree. After that one that hit, you had Matt Patricia and Mac Jones go over to each other and high-five.

"Clearly, they've been working on it a lot. Clearly, it means a lot to them when it does work. It hasn't worked much, but then we got to Tuesday."

Also in the new episode: Positive signs coming from the Patriots’ run game. How improving the run game will help Mac air it out. And answering questions from the Next Pats mailbag.

Check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube below: