With running back Dion Lewis out for the season, the "next man up" philosophy comes into play for the Patriots. However, in the case of replacing Lewis, it might mean turning to several options. Here's a look at the players the Patriots could turn to.
Has White’s time come?
Second-year running back James White is a possibility. He was taken by the Patriots in the fourth round (130th overall) of the 2014 draft after a prolific career at Wisconsin. With the Badgers, he played in 52 games and rushed for 4,105 yards, averaging 6.2 yards a carry.
In his rookie season with the Patriots, he played in just three games, rushing for 38 yards on nine carries. He was inactive for 13 regular-season games and all three playoff games.
With the free agency departures of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, 2015 figured to be the season when White would get his chance. But Lewis shined in training camp, and White has played sparingly this season, appearing in six games. In his one start against the New York Jets, he rushed twice for 4 yards and caught three passes for 26 yards.
Bolden has backers
Veteran Brandon Bolden is in his fourth season with the Patriots, and got the call Sunday against Washington. Bolden finished with three receptions for 27 yards and rushed once for 12 yards. Tom Brady connected with him for an 18-yard touchdown pass, and had nothing but praise for him after the game.
"Brandon made a great play," said Brady. "We work on that a lot, and it was great to see him in there and make a big play for us. He's a great player. I love Brandon and everything he brings to our team.
"He's been here for a while. He has great leadership, just a great player, great friend, and it was great to see him with the ball in his hands at the end of a play like that."
Bolden was signed by the Patriots in 2012 as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi and has performed mostly on special teams. He was ready to contribute offensively Sunday, though, and may be asked to do so going forward.
"Brandon did a good job for us," said coach Bill Belichick after Sunday's win. "Brandon has got a lot of experience on this team in a number of different roles and he's been through it all — running game, passing game, blitz pickup, special teams — multiple roles in that.
"He's a smart guy. You can always count on him. He's come through for us many times before like he did today, so that's why he's a valuable member of this team. We needed him and he stepped up for us."
Cadet could be a keeper
The Patriots could also choose to bring back Travaris Cadet. The veteran spent his first three seasons with the New Orleans Saints after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Appalachian State. He joined the Patriots in March, but a hamstring injury kept him off the field for all four exhibition games.
Cadet made the roster, but was released Sept. 29 after Lewis got off to a strong start. In his three seasons with New Orleans, he carried the ball just 11 times. However, he had 45 receptions, including a pair of touchdowns, which could make him an option for the Patriots to complement the hard-nosed running style of LeGarrette Blount, who had a career-high 29 carries for 129 yards Sunday.
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