New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) stiff arms New Orleans Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Saints 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Stevan Ridley deserves plaudits, shows his value


New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley seems under-appreciated, and the Patriots need to realize that going with a committee at running back only makes sense if you lack a viable feature back. If the Patriots don’t think they have a viable feature back in Stevan Ridley, then they might have some more fundamental problems on their hands. The fumbles are there, yes. But think about how many times Ridley ran the ball last year, and think of how much of a leash other, talented backs are given for fumbles. Listen, I’d much rather have a talented back like Ridley who has some fumbling issues, as opposed to a back like BenJarvus Green-Ellis who has very little natural talent but never fumbles. The Patriots need to realize that Stevan Ridley is a star on this team, and there a reason why he ran for 1,263 yards last season. Having a feature back gives a team a lot of balance on offense, and Ridley is one of the most important players on the team.

That last statement seems like hyperbole, but I think it holds true when looking at the past two games. The Patriots pathetic offensive display against the Cincinnati Bengals saw the team attempt just 17 carries with running backs. While they did average a solid yards per carry, they had no legitimate goal-line back, and neither LeGarrette Blount nor Brandon Bolden are as consistent or talented as Ridley. They are both solid players who have roles on the team, but neither of them can be trusted to run the ball 20 times in a game.

Stevan Ridley didn’t even play in yesterday evening’s huge win over the New Orleans Saints until late in the first quarter, and I think this is the last time the Patriots allow Ridley to wade on the bench. The man was simply fantastic, as he ran through the Saints defense to the tune of 96 rushing yards on 20 carries. He averaged 4.8 yards per rush and had two second quarter touchdowns that were vital. Ridley’s one-yard TD was especially important, and both rushes came within the five yard line. Why were they so important? Well, Ridley is the only running back on the Patriots roster who can be trusted with those kinds of plays.

Without Ridley, I think the Patriots are a 4-2 team and not a 5-1 team. What a way for Stevan Ridley to make a statement on his importance on the team with yesterday’s performance, and I think we should continue to see him play at a high level this year. And please Bill Belichick, don’t bench the guy for a fumble.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter for more NFL updates and analysis @SorianoJoe. Be sure to like us on Facebook here and follow our site on Twitter as well.

Tags: New England Patriots Stevan Ridley

  • Phillip

    Thank you, i’ve been saying this the last few weeks, it was nice to see him finally used the way he should be and there’s no reason at all he shouldn’t be used the same or even more going foward, there’s still plenty of time for him to get back on track and finish with 1200-1300 yards and 10-12 TD’s again, lanes will open up even more for him once Gronk comes back. RB’s in the NFL fumble, like you said 290 carries a guy isn’t gonna be perfect, just look at the rest of the NFL, nobody is perfect, Jamal Charles touches the ball more than anybody and had 5 fumbles last year where Ridley had 4, AP and Foster had 3, shit AP has already 3 fumbles, Lynch and Charles already with 2 and we’re not seeing them guys yanked and thier playing time reduced heavily for the next 4 weeks. Ridley’s gonna have a few tough games, no RB is perfect every game and when them rough games do come the best thing for Belichek to do is ride him out and let him bounce back quickly, it’s pretty bad after his week 1 fumble that it took all the way up until week 6 for him to finally get his bounce back opportunity and redeem himself. Hopefully Belichek realizes what kind of talent he has in Ridley and neither Bolden or Blount will be able to replace that weekly and he sticks with the man even in the times that he’s struggling to pick up yards or has a fumble, don’t get why it’d be so hard to stick with your best player just cause he had a fumble, it’s crazy.

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Yeah, I hope Belichick learned his lesson, and I agree with you on every point up there.