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Patriots' White chalks up playoff success to McDaniels

By
Alex Butler
New England Patriots running back James White (28) smiles on stage before speaking to the media Monday at Super Bowl LII Opening Night at Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI
New England Patriots running back James White (28) smiles on stage before speaking to the media Monday at Super Bowl LII Opening Night at Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- James White put up an MVP performance in Super Bowl XL, but didn't leave with the award. He remains one of the New England Patriots' most-clutch players.

The running back has seven touchdowns in his last five playoff games - all victories for the Patriots. That tally includes the effort he put up on Feb. 5, 2017, running for 110 yards and a score and catching two receiving scores.

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"It's just great play calling by coach [Josh] McDaniels," White said Monday at Super Bowl Opening Night in Saint Paul, Minn. "I just try and be in the right spot if the balls come my way. I just try to do whatever I can to make a smart play for the team."

White said he's keeping last year's personal postseason success in the past.

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"James gives us a lot of confidence because of his performance on a daily basis," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "He is always ready to go. He does an excellent job in pass protection, catching the ball, running the ball. He's a very dependable player. He has done it in big games, he has done it in all situations...long yardage, short yardage, around the goal line. Made a lot of tough catches, made a lot of big plays for us."

"But he shows up and does that everyday in practice, so I've got a lot of confidence in James."

The Patriots battle the NFL's top-ranked run defense Sunday in the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Philadelphia Eagles allowed just 79.2 rushing yards per bout this season, en route to the NFC crown.

White has about 10 friends and family members coming to watch him attempt to do what he has done before: perform on the biggest state in American sports.

"I think he's a guy that trusts his process and trusts his routine and doesn't get out of the norm," Brandin Cooks said of White. "I think he has that confidence throughout the whole year, I don't think it changes from that standpoint."

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White, 25, has never eclipsed 551 rushing yards in a season. He also has never rushed for more than five scores during a single season.

The Wisconsin product has just one regular-season game during his career with more than 100 rushing yards.

Still, he remains the team's go-to-guy when they need points on the board. He has scored five of the Patriots' last 10 postseason touchdowns.

"James is a great player," Danny Amendola said. "He does a lot of great things. Obviously, can run through the line as effectively as he can get out and catch passes, so he's a great teammate and a great guy to have."

While some players demand the ball and constant touches, White says he knows his role and how it can change in an instant.

"I know my role, each and every time I step out there on game day," White said. "That can change in the middle of the game. I understand my role and I just make the most out of the opportunities that I get. That's how it is for most guys on this team. One game you might play 10 snaps, one game you might play 70. You don't really know exactly..."

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