FOXBORO — For those fantasizing over a positional change for running back Rex Burkhead, well, not all dreams come true.
The Patriots may be shorthanded at wide receiver Sunday against the Saints because Danny Amendola has missed both practices of the week due to a concussion and knee injury. That would leave Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett as the only true receivers, which has led to the question over Burkhead’s versatility.
Early in his career, the Bengals occasionally tried out Burkhead as a slot receiver in practice. But look, there’s a reason why he’s a running back.
“Whatever the coaches want me to do here, if that’s in the run game, the pass game, I’m happy to do that, whatever role they see fit,” Burkhead said yesterday.
Burkhead has spent time on the line of scrimmage since joining the Patriots because they use all of their running backs in that capacity. But realistically, those backs are tasked to learn a fairly basic route tree as well as the adjustments that come with it.
So yeah, Burkhead likely will take some snaps on the line of scrimmage, but that doesn’t mean the Patriots are embarking upon a full-on transition.
“We’re going to try to fill that role whatever way we can,” Burkhead said. “Whatever the game plan is, we’re going to try to hone in on it, focus on it, so we’re ready for Sunday.”
The Patriots will take an all-hands-on-deck approach with their restricted group of receivers. They’ll field their five most talented skill players at a time, however those roles play out, and see what works in their favor. And if in those opportunities Burkhead gets on the line of scrimmage, he is equipped to handle the responsibility.
“I’m comfortable with it,” Burkhead said. “There are still things I’ve got to improve upon. Growing up, I tried to be an all-purpose back, just catching balls. Here, you’ve got to be. That’s something I take pride in, and making adjustments in routes.”
Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine was on the field for the first time in three weeks after injuring his knee during a practice prior to the preseason finale against the New York Giants.
“It always feels good being around the guys and getting back out there to do what I love,” Valentine said. “I’m just trying to take it day by day, get better each day and hopefully get back out there soon.”
Valentine made an impact as a situational interior lineman during his rookie season, and…