FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — James White is ready.

“I’m ready for whatever the coaches ask me to do,” the versatile running back said as the Patriots (1-2) prepared to play Miami (3-0) on Sunday. “If it is one snap or 60 snaps, you prepare hard in practice and be ready for any moment because you never know how the game is going to go for any of us.”

It’s tough to believe that White’s workload will be only one snap, given the state of New England’s running game.

The Patriots lost free agent Jeremy Hill to a knee injury in the season opener and Rex Burkhead went into the concussion protocol after the Week 2 loss at Jacksonville. He was cleared to play against the Lions, only to suffer a neck injury and land on injured reserve.

The mounting injuries leave White, first-round draft pick Sony Michel and fullback James Develin as Coach Bill Belichick’s options out of the backfield. The Patriots are ranked 20th in the NFL in rushing.

White, usually considered a third-down back, has been trending toward more of a three-down role because of injuries.

In last week’s loss to Detroit, quarterback Tom Brady admitted that White – who touched the ball just once in the opening 28 minutes of the second half in the 26-10 loss – should have had more of a role.

“He’s just a great player for us,” Brady said. “He’s gotta be involved. Guys who can make plays are the ones that should be involved. And James (White) is certainly one of them.”

White leads the team in receptions (14) and is second on the team in receiving yards (125) behind tight end Rob Gronkowski (189).

The Patriots are 25th in the NFL in total yards (300.0) and 26th in passing yards (202.3), but Brady remains confident in the offense.

“Obviously, our record doesn’t reflect many things that have been positive this year, but we’re working at it,” Brady said. “(We’re) trying to make improvements. (There’s) a lot of football left. We’d love to be playing great from the beginning; obviously we haven’t done that and we have to figure out a way to get a win.”

The Patriots added depth at running back this week by re-signing Kenjon Barner. He has little to show for his six NFL seasons, but White feels the former All-American from Oregon has the skills to bolster the run game.

“It gets thrown at you fast and there is a lot to learn in a short amount of time,” White said. “He’s competing, taking some extra time to get better. He’s super fast with quick feet and he can catch and block and whatever he needs to do. He will be a good help for us.”

Miami rookie tight end Mike Gesicki has never met Rob Gronkowski, but has followed him closely throughout his career.

“Growing up watching him, I’ve seen all his highlights, I’ve seen all of his workouts, I’ve seen everything that there is about him,” Gesicki said. “I have a ton of respect for his game and his work ethic and the way he plays, how aggressive he plays, all of that kind of stuff.”

Gesicki has some similar characteristics to Gronkowski, but he has a long way to go to reach his level. Dolphins Coach Adam Gase half-jokingly said last year he was hoping Gronkowski would retire.

In 11 career games against the Dolphins, Gronkowski has 44 catches for 688 yards and eight touchdowns. Those numbers are better than any Miami tight end has put up in a full season since Charles Clay in 2013.

“It’s no surprise (that) he’s one of, if not the best tight end in the NFL,” Gesicki said. “It’s not by mistake.”

After a quiet preseason, Gesicki has four catches for 42 yards on five targets. His role should increase even more so this week with A.J. Derby battling a foot injury. Derby, who is listed as the starter on the depth chart but has yet to start a game, has been hurt all week and is unlikely to play against New England.

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