Round Table: Bench Ridley?

How should Bill Belichick manage Stevan Ridley in light of his fumble problems: bench him, limit him, let him work through it with a full workload?

Jason:  When he fumbled on Sunday night, I was screaming at the TV to just cut him. Obviously, that would be a bit rash. But I really think they need to sit him down until they can be certain those issues are behind him. If that means he doesn't play for a few weeks, or a few months, or the 2014 season, so be it. If half of the elements of the passing game were still hurt, I'd favor letting him work through his issues since he is their most dynamic ballcarrier. But with Gronk, Amendola, Edelman, Vereen, Thompkins and Dobson all healthy, I think the prudent move would be to bench him since they should be able to move the ball without him.

Raj: Limit him. He's not a benchworthy player and has a lot of talent. Maybe let him start against weaker teams such as the Browns or Bills. I'm very disappointed with his fumble problems but that should not shadow his true potential. Just let him work through it against weaker opponents. If he doesn't show improvement and the playoffs roll around, then I think the Pats have to consider benching him because he cannot cost us a mistake in those games. One mistake can be deadly.

Derek: I would severely limit Ridley's touches at this point.  Unless it was an absolute necessity, I would never put the ball in his hands in a situation where a fumble could cost this team the game.  If the Patriots manage to rack up a comfortable lead against some of their upcoming weak opponents, then by all means give him the reps to feel comfortable and practice his ball security.  Otherwise, I'm keeping his butt glued to the pine unless it's clear that Blount, Bolden, and Vereen simply aren't getting the job done and this team needs to establish a running game to come out victorious.  

Same goes for the playoffs.  Against a stout D-line like Kansas City's, the Patriots may need Ridley's power running.  But if the team is able to get the job done well enough with the backup crew, then keep him on the bench.  In the end, I hardly see enough difference between Ridley and the next man up to justify the risk of a catastrophic fumble.

Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.