amien Harris is coming off of a career season in 2021 for the New England Patriots but he might be capable of even more in the 2022 regular season.
Harris couldn’t stop finding the end zone last season. He racked up 15 touchdowns on 202 carries while also rushing for 929 yards. Harris finished out the year strong scoring eight touchdowns in New England’s final five games.
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2021 was far and away Harris’ best season as a pro and now the question is can he do even better? Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay seems to think the answer to that question is yes.
Kay has Harris as one of his dark horses to lead the entire league in rushing touchdowns.
“Damien Harris quietly emerged as one of the league’s most exciting talents last season. After flashing potential in 2020 with 691 yards and a pair of scores on 137 carries, Harris took command of the New England Patriots backfield in 2021,” Kay stated. “The 25-year-old tallied up 929 rushing yards and 15 TDs on 202 carries. He notched eight of those touchdowns during a five-game stretch to close out the campaign, including a three-score showing against the rival Buffalo Bills.”
“If he can continue that pace this coming season, Harris has a realistic chance to lead the league in rushing scores.”
How Will the Running Game Look in 2022?
Harris will still be the lead back in New England. After his impressive 2021 season, it’s hard to see him taking a steep decline in rushing attempts.
But New England’s group of running backs has continued to get deeper during the offseason. The Patriots re-signed James White and also drafted Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris. With J.J. Taylor and Rhamondre Stevenson also returning, Bill Belichick will be faced with some difficult decisions.
Stevenson in particular had a noteworthy start to his career. The running back drafted out of Oklahoma had 133 carries for 606 yards and five touchdowns. Stevenson was able to rack up yards at an impressive rate as well averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Still, Harris should get plenty of opportunities to find the end zone whether that be breaking off a long run or bulldozing his way from a few yards out.
What Will the Patriots’ Offense Look Like in 2022?
While New England has a lot of players returning, what the offense will look like remains to be seen. The Patriots experienced a lot of turnover with the coaching staff and have a significant amount of new coaches on the offensive side of the ball.
What is known is that Joe Judge is currently working with Mac Jones and other skill-position players while Matt Patricia is working with the offensive line. Both are rather inexperienced in the areas of focus and it still is unknown who will be calling plays on offense.
Whoever does get that responsibility will have some big shoes to fill. With Josh McDaniels departing to become head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, New England is certain to have a new play-caller in 2022.
But no matter who is calling plays, Harris should still get a decent diet of carries in 2022, and Patriots fans will be hoping he can replicate the performance he had in 2021.