COMMENTARY | Anyone that has followed the New England Patriots knows how Bill Belichick feels about fumbling; just don't do it. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a favorite of Bill's during his time in New England, largely because he never fumbled in a Patriots uniform.
Stevan Ridley can't exactly say the same.
To the displeasure of fantasy owners around the world, Ridley was inactive for the team's game on Sunday against the Houston Texans. He has had some fumbling problems lately, and many believe this is the reason he didn't suit up. It seemed a lot like Belichick was trying to send a message to his talented running back.
To absolutely nobody's surprise, Bill Belichick refused to dig into the topic. He claims that he was not sending a message to Ridley, and simply made him inactive in the best interest of the team. It was pretty much the generic Belichick response that we've come to expect.
It's obvious Ridley is the team's best running back, so there has to be something deeper here. The Patriots do have a few other solid options, including LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, and Shane Vereen. Still, it's tough to make a case that the New England offense is in a better position with Ridley in sweats on the sideline.
Belichick isn't the type of coach to beat around the bush. I'm sure Ridley knows exactly what the problem is, and it probably didn't take an inactive designation to figure it out. More than anything, this has to be more of a punishment. This isn't the New England offense of old that can score on demand. Tom Brady and company can't afford to turn the ball over, as the luxury of simply marching down the field and scoring a touchdown on the next possession isn't there anymore.
Going forward, it's hard to imagine that Ridley won't get another shot. Vereen is back in the fold, but he's not suited to play every down. Although he's a good situational back, Blount doesn't bring the big play ability that Ridley does.
If the Patriots have Super Bowl intentions, they'll need to get Ridley back in the fold. He's simply too talented of a runner to keep on the bench. Ridley should get another chance, but it may be his last one as New England's featured back if he keeps fumbling.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering New England sports for various blogs over the past 4 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.
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