By: Jake Mackey
The Patriots have one of the worst running back cores in the National Football League. That is a fact, especially without Dion Lewis. LeGarrette Blount is closing in on 30-years old, James White is a poor man’s Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden has proven that he is hardly anything more than a special teams guru, and Tyler Gaffney has never stepped on the field in a regular season game.
Therefore, with the news of the Detroit Lions releasing former Patriots running back and 1,200 yard rusher, it begs the question as to whether or not the Patriots should bring him back. The majority of fans would probably say no because he fumbled in the worst situations during his four-year stint in Foxborough, and he got a Jets tattoo as soon as he left New England last year. Nevertheless, he would be the most talented and best runner the Patriots would have available in Arizona week one.
Stevan Ridley spent two seasons as the Patriots starting running back in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 he ran for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 2013 he ran for 773 and seven scores. Those both are more yards than Blount has ever run for with the Patriots, and Ridley is two years younger.
In addition, when you just watch the two players run and compare them it is obvious that Ridley is the far superior back. Blount hardly gets past the line of scrimmage and tries to run like a gazelle when he is built like an ox. Ridley certainly is not small but he isn’t as much of a load as Blount, but he runs like it. Straight ahead with his shoulders down. I would take Ridley on fourth and one over Blount ten times out of ten.
There would be zero downside to this move from a Patriots standpoint. He would not cost any money and if he doesn’t perform you cut him and lose nothing. He also could flash in a familiar system and give the offense some resemblance of a running game. Something they have not had since 2013.
The only thing is, this will not happen due to the fact that Bill Belichick cannot stand Ridley. Ridley was without a doubt the starting back in 2013 until his fumbles became traumatic . He fumbled during a key would be scoring drive in a loss to Carolina, and the next week he fumbled in the first quarter against Denver and it was taken back for a touchdown. The next week in Houston he was in street clothes on the sideline, and was barely seen the rest of the season.
(GIF Credit: Highlighthub.com, Bleacherreport.com)
That ultimately cost Ridley his career in New England along with an ACL tear in October of 2014, and it probably cost him a chance of donning the flying elvis ever again even thought given the current state of the Patriots running backs, he should.