Thursday, September 19, 2019

Belichick: Rex Burkhead one of the Patriots ‘most versatile players’


Mark Daniels

FOXBORO – Rex Burkhead has been a productive player since joining the Patriots in 2017.
That’s certainly been the case when he’s on the field.
In his first season in Foxboro, the running back scored a career-high eight total touchdowns (five rushing and three receiving) in 10 games player. Last year, Burkhead’s regular-season production was stymied due to a neck injury. He played in eight games, but in the playoffs, the back scored three touchdowns. That included two in the AFC Championship, where Burkhead scored the game winner.
This year, Burkhead is off to a quick start with the Patriots. On Wednesday, Bill Belichick called the running back one of the most versatile players on the team.
“Rex has been a good player for us so, everybody improves and can work on little things every year, but I’d say he’s been a pretty solid player for us. He plays on all four downs. He can run the ball, can handle all our regular run plays. He’s a good third-down back. Rex can play on all big four in the kicking game – kickoff, kickoff return, punt, punt return. He’s one of the most versatile players on our team.”
In two games, this year, Burkhead’s averaged 5.0 yards per carry (65 yards on 13 attempts). He’s also caught seven passes for 88 receiving yards. Burkhead is second on the Patriots in rushing and fourth in receiving. He’s been able to do that while playing just 34.51% of the team’s offensive snaps. Heading into this week, Burkhead is also tied for fourth on the Patriots in special teams snaps (31).
Belichick compared Burkhead’s versatility with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Kyle Van Noy.
“There’s a handful of players like that, that can play on every down, but those guys are rare and play it at a high level like Kyle, Devin, Pat, Rex, too,” Belichick said. “As a coach, it’s a tremendous luxury to have on your team, to have players that are that versatile and that versatile in terms of the variety of things they can do and that versatile in terms of being able to do it at a high level in all those situations. You’re lucky to have one of those guys on your team. Maybe two. We have more than that. It’s something that’s really a great help as a coach in terms of game planning and managing the entire roster. They give you so much depth.”

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