The Patriots benched running back Stevan Ridley on Sunday after he fumbled the ball twice in the first half, giving the lion’s share of the work to Shane Vereen.
Vereen paid them back with the only 100-yard rushing performance by a running back all day, but he also injured his wrist and is expected to miss the next few weeks while he recovers. While the Patriots have other backs, the absence of Vereen would seem to make it hard for the Patriots to keep their Week One starter in the doghouse.
As you’d expect, coach Bill Belichick isn’t giving up the identity of the guy who will be getting the most action in the backfield this Thursday. He did say that Ridley isn’t being treated any differently than the other players on the roster as a result of his blunders, however.
“I talked to Stevan,” Belichick said, via the Boston Globe. “Look, every player has the same responsibilities every week. Be ready to play, be ready to go. That’s their job. They can’t control coaches decisions. Coaches decisions are coaches decisions. They control their preparation and they control their performance when they’re in the game. That’s what a player’s job is. That’s always what it has been for everybody.”
Ridley said Sunday that he won’t be pouting over being benched, which fits well with Belichick’s suggestion that players not worry about decisions made by the coaching staff. We probably wouldn’t be talking about him getting an immediate chance to reclaim the coach’s confidence without Vereen’s injury, but the facts are what they are and that should mean the return of Ridley on Thursday night.