For the second week in a row, Jaret Patterson, who hails from Glen Dale, Maryland, and who went to high school with Chase Young, grabbed attention in a preseason game. In the first week, against the Patriots, Patterson rushed for 40 yards and added 30 receiving yards. This week, against the Bengals, he upped the ante, going for 71 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and 3 receptions for 25 yards in the passing game. His 4.4 yards per carry rushing average and 8.3 yards per reception receiving average are likely to catch the attention of the coaching staff.
Ron Rivera had said this week that they wanted to give Patterson an opportunity to show what he could do in the return game. Patterson didn't disappoint.
Midway through the third quarter, Patterson fielded a kickoff near his own 1-yard line and returned it 37 yards to set up the offense with great field position. If he can fill a role as a return man in addition to the explosive running he has shown himself capable of on offense, it's hard to imagine how the coaches could make a decision to keep him off the 53-man regular season roster.
Patterson has done what any player needs to do in his first two preseason games; he has made the most of his opportunities. He has run well, protected the ball, and helped his team.
His ability to punch the ball into the end zone on a short yardage play also shows that he is not just a guy who can move in space. He ran the ball very well between the tackles against the Bengals; and, while Antonio Gibson opened the game and played the first quarter, Patterson got plenty of first-half work on Friday night, meaning that his production wasn't all against third-stringers.
Patterson played his college ball at the University of Buffalo, the only school to offer him a scholarship. He rewarded them by spending the ’18, ’19, and ’20 seasons stuffing the stat sheet.
Patterson’s best full season came in 2019, when he put up almost 1,800 yards rushing, over 200 yards receiving, and scored 20 touchdowns!
What looks like regression in 2020 at a glance, is really just limited overall stats due to playing in just 6 games in the COVID shortened season. The amazing thing is that in just six games, he rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored 19 touchdowns! Incredible.
In a single game against Kent State last year, he had 36 carries for 409 yards and 8 touchdowns, just 18 yards short of the all-time college single-game rushing record held by former Washington Redskins running back, Samaje Perine (who carried the ball on Friday night for the Bengals, where he is also competing for a backup RB roster spot).
Small School Diamond
It’s true that Patterson’s production came against second-tier competition, but the diminutive running back (5’9”, 195 lbs) is one of the most exciting prospects to ever come out of the University of Buffalo – nobody has ever done what he has, and the history of the MAC producing diamonds in the rough is long established. Some great players to come out of the MAC include Khalil Mack, Randy Moss, Ben Roethlisberger, Kareem Hunt, Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Corey Davis, Kenny Golladay, T.J. Lang, James Starks and Greg Jennings.
One of the reasons why Patterson stands out and is considered an NFL talent is that he always looking to credit others for success and improve his own game. After watching his own game tape, he said, “You always think it was a perfect game, but it really wasn’t. I missed a few runs,” he said. “It’s never being satisfied with your performance. That’s how I can top it.”
One of his high school coaches told a story about Patterson’s first year in high school, saying that he told Patterson to do 100 pushups, 100 sit ups and 100 squats every day, and to increase the workload by 100 every two weeks. By the end of his freshman year of high school, reported the coach, Patterson was doing about 800 per day. It's easy to see how that kind of dedication has paid off when you see Jaret Patterson's short but powerful body.
Of course, the monstrous production that Patterson amassed in his 32 college games won’t be repeated in the NFL, but Patterson seems to be just what the Washington Football Team needs – an explosive, powerful back who can round out the running back room, add spark to the return game, and help keep the offense on-track when Antonio Gibson is on the sidelines.
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