Over the course of an NFL season, a lot of things get talked about. Some factors are overblown, some aren’t addressed enough.
Sunday’s 41-28 win over the Texans by the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs gave us ample reason to get back to something that had been apparent several times this season but fell through the cracks: Patriots running backs mentor Ivan Fears is one heck of a coach.
His group’s performance against the Texans was the icing on the cake in what has been a terrific season, especially considering that, outside of Danny Woodhead, the guys in Fears’s meeting room had played a grand total of 226 plays (less than 20 percent of a full season) combined.
Sure, the offensive line opened up some huge holes, and the Texans couldn’t get lined up and forgot to cover people, but Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, and Woodhead (injured on his first snap) were flawless except for one quarterback hurry allowed by Ridley in pass protection.
It’s really amazing what Fears has done with this group in two areas in which young backs struggle: choosing the right hole and pass protection.
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