Stevan Ridley on roster bubble with Patriots?

Stevan RidleyThe New England Patriots have a lot of depth at running back, which makes sense for a team that rarely ever employs a feature runner. Stevan Ridley is New England’s best rusher between the tackles, but his tendency to fumble has landed him in Bill Belichick’s doghouse several times. Could it also cost Ridley a roster spot?

On Monday morning, Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com posted his latest projections for the Patriots’ 53-man roster. Ridley was not on the list, as Reiss predicts the Patriots will keep four running backs — Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, and rookies James White and Jonas Gray.

The Patriots are always good for a surprise, and we’ve had our antenna up at this position since early July. If there’s a surprise, we’ll play a hunch at this spot with Stevan Ridley, whose low snap total Friday (11 snaps) in a “dress rehearsal” game caught the eye.

It does seem that Belichick always cuts one big name before the regular season, so it certainly wouldn’t be a shock if he sent Ridley packing. The former LSU star put the ball on the ground once again during a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, though it’s possible his knee was down. Still, it showed more ball security issues from a player who lost three fumbles on 178 carries last season and fumbled four times the year before.

Ridley is just 25 and has ripped off some runs that prove he has what it takes to be one of the better power backs in the NFL. He knows that his next fumble will likely leave him benched or released, which can’t be good for his confidence. Maybe a change of scenery would help.

Stevan Ridley fumbles again, slams helmet in anger (GIF)

Stevan-Ridley-slams-helmetStevan Ridley lost a fumble on the New England Patriots’ first possession against the Denver Broncos on Sunday night. The former LSU star has had a fumbling problem throughout his career, fumbling seven times in three years and losing four of them since the start of the 2012 season.

Ridley’s fumble against the Broncos was scooped up by Von Miller and taken 60 yards the other way for a touchdown.

Ridley lost a critical fumble in a close game against the Carolina Panthers last week, which the Patriots went on to lose by four points. He was benched for 18 snaps after putting the ball on the ground. He was also benched for two quarters in the first game of the season against the Buffalo Bills. Bill Belichick may not go back to Ridley for a long, long time.

GIF via @cjzero

Shane Vereen reportedly has broken bone in wrist, will miss a few weeks

Shane VereenThe New England Patriots’ running back situation looked extremely muddled after Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills. Stevan Ridley was benched early on after fumbling twice (losing one of them) and replaced by Shane Vereen. Ridley was expected to remain the starter, but Vereen was likely going to see an increased workload after racking up over 150 yards of total offense. Instead, he has a broken wrist.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported on Monday that Vereen broke a small bone in his wrist on the first play of the game against the Bills. He was able to play through it but experienced some numbness. He is scheduled for surgery on Monday and expected to miss a few weeks.

With that, Ridley will immediately be given a chance to redeem himself. LeGarrette Blount is more of a short yardage back who is not really capable of handling a full workload or even 50% of New England’s total carries. Ridley is clearly the most talented back the Patriots have on their roster with Vereen out. He needs to stop putting the ball on the ground if a now-thin Patriots’ backfield is to be successful.

Stevan Ridley benched after fumble; Shane Vereen goes beast

Stevan RidleyFantasy owners who drafted Stevan Ridley have to be nervous after what happened on Sunday.

Ridley was benched by the New England Patriots after losing a fumble in the second quarter of a 23-21 win over the Buffalo Bills. Ridley had nine carries for 46 yards, but the fumble was his second of the game, though the first he lost. Da’Norris Searcy recovered the fumble and went 74 yards for a Buffalo touchdown, which probably gave the Pats extra reasons to bench the back.

Ridley entered the game with five fumbles (two lost) in his NFL career. He now has seven fumbles (three lost) in 33 career games.

Prior to Ridley’s lost fumble, Shane Vereen only had one rush for 7 yards in the game. But Ridley saw most of the work after that and finished with 101 yards on 14 carries. He also had seven catches for 58 yards.

We don’t expect Ridley to lose his spot as the team’s starter, but this may have opened the door for Vereen and LeGarrette Blount to see more carries in the future. Vereen certainly played like he’s deserving of more action.

Writer predicted Bernard Pollard would take out Stevan Ridley days in advance

Bernard-Pollard-RavensBaltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard is known to many as “The Patriot Killer.” When he was with the Kansas City Chiefs, Pollard was the guy who hit Brady’s knee and tore his ACL in 2008. In 2010, when he was with the Houston Texans, Pollard was in the general area of where Wes Welker ripped up his knee at the end of the season. Last year, he made the tackle on Rob Gronkowski that injured his ankle and made him close to a non-factor in the Super Bowl.

On Sunday, Pollard took out yet another Patriot with his helmet-to-helmet hit on running back Stevan Ridley. The hit was perfectly legal since Ridley was a ball carrier and not a receiver, but the whole “Patriot Killer” thing is starting to get kind of eery. What’s even more eery is that a writer named Steve Roney from Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic called the injury.

Coincidence or not, that is some pretty crazy stuff. Pollard has now taken out arguably the best Patriots player at every skill position on offense. He certainly took out their best quarterback in 2008 and tight end in 2012, and Welker and Ridley were probably the best at their position at the time of their injuries.

Whether you believe in curses and jinxes or not, I’m sure there are very few New England fans out there who get excited about the Patriots taking on a team that Pollard is on.

H/T SI Hot Clicks

Patriots running backs wear onesies for team unity (Picture)

Patriots running back Stevan Ridley is only in his second year with the team, but that doesn’t mean he can’t act as a team leader. The LSU product got his friends at California Christiania Republic to send him several onesies, and he convinced his teammates to put them on. From left-to-right in the pic above, you’re looking at Jeff Demps, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, Ridley, and James Devlin.

“It’s just kind of a small joke to try and get some smiles on faces around the locker room,” Ridley said, per the Boston Herald. “It’s a team thing. I tried to get my running backs coach (Ivan Fears) one but he wasn’t going for it. The running backs pulled together as a unit and like Bill (Belichick) says, it’s all about the team. I can’t be the only one, so I had to get the rest involved.

Teammates say Stevan Ridley looked like an angry Telletubby. I think they all look funny. But hey, when you’re underachieving for a season, why not try anything to get going?

Photo via Shane Vereen/Instagram

Stevan Ridley, Montario Hardesty, Bernard Scott, Kendall Hunter Week 4 RB Pickups

Fine-tuning your fantasy roster is critical to having success on a weekly basis. You can draft a good team, but with injuries and bye weeks, there is always room for more depth. With that in mind, we have four running backs to suggest as free agent pickups for week four of fantasy.

Stevan Ridley is a rookie running back for the Patriots. The LSU product drew attention when he scored three touchdowns in the first preseason game. He followed that up by gaining 111 total yards in the second preseason game. Though he didn’t see action in week one, he had two carries in week two. Last week he saw significant action in the second half of the Pats game against the Bills. Ridley ran for 42 yards on six carries and added an 8-yard catch. The Pats still have BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead in the running back rotation, but Ridley has earned his share of carries. If you have room for him, we suggest adding him. He could be the team’s primary back in a month or so — he’s just better than what New England has.

Montario Hardesty is a second-year running back for the Browns. He was taken in the second round by Cleveland last year but he tore his ACL in his first preseason game and missed the entire year. He’s back healthy and acted as Cleveland’s primary back week three with Peyton Hillis out sick, going for over 100 total yards. Hillis will be back, but Hardesty was so impressive in his first start that he almost assuredly has earned a timeshare with the Madden cover boy. We loved Hardesty’s physical running style in college and were impressed by his ability to break tackles. The talent is there, the Browns have a good enough line, and Hardesty will get enough carries to be a passable bye week fill-in on your fantasy team. Don’t expect the same production in week four as Hillis will likely be back, but 10 touches is possible.

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