In a move that did not come as a surprise to anyone, running back Stevan Ridley was listed as inactive before Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans for non-injury reasons. We all know Coach Bill Belichick’s tolerance for fumbling has reached a boiling point and he was clearly sending Ridley a message with the benching (despite his claims otherwise) for his inability to protect the football.
This is not the first time Ridley has been punished for his fumbles. He has been benched for a few series, halves and was even inactive his rookie season against the Baltimore Ravens after fumbling the ball the previous week against the Denver Broncos. As none of those strategies seemed to eliminate the fumbles, Belichick decided to take a more drastic approach and made Ridley a spectator for Sunday’s game (to give Ridley some credit, he was firmly holding onto a football on the sidelines the entire game).
There is no question the third-year back deserved to be benched this past Sunday as his most recent fumble is nothing of an anomaly for him. Ridley has had his fair share of fumble-itis this season, with a team-leading three lost fumbles in his last three games and four overall. However, he is still a valuable part of this team, bringing balance to the Patriot offense. Now his future as the starting back with the team is in question, especially with his latest benching.
If Ridley were the lead back on any other team not coached by Belichick, his constant fumbling might not be an issue. Unfortunately for Ridley, he plays on the very structured, disciplined Patriots where fumbling will not be tolerated. Has Ridley’s latest fumble against the Broncos cost him his starting job and perhaps jeopardized his future with the team, or does he deserve another chance to prove himself as as a reliable back? Continue reading Should Patriots RB Stevan Ridley Get His Starting Job Back? »