The 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.