The New England Patriots will have to make a tough cut at the running back position, unless if they want to keep both second-year bruiser Brandon Bolden and trade acquisition LeGarrette Blount next season and roll with five running backs on the roster. The Patriots have to make tough cuts across the board, but it is still possible for the Pats to keep steady with five RBs on the 53-man roster.
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Stevan Ridley is obviously the feature back and is one of the best feature backs in the league, but I would think the Patriots are interested in lowering his carries from 290 last season. While Ridley is a workhorse, 290 carries is a high number, and the Patriots should maximize Ridley’s stamina going forward following his first season as a starter. Ridley was a smashing success last season, but I am hoping that either Blount or Bolden can emerge as a good No. 2 option to Ridley. I have faith that one of those two backs can do that, but it will be interesting to see which one can help successfully alleviate Ridley’s workload.
LeGarrette Blount was in the doghouse under new Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, but Blount is a former 1,000-yard rusher and was treated to harshly in Tampa Bay by Schiano. Ridley shared his thoughts on Blount, via NESN’s Doug Kyed, “He’s another back. At 250 pounds, what doesn’t he bring? There’s a lot of power in there. For him, he’s just learning one day at a time. As a unit, we’re sticking in there. Me, Shane, LeGarrette, Brandon Bolden, we’re sticking in there. Akeem [Shavers], the new guy that’s there, we’re all just trying to learn as much as we can. … We just have to help [Blount] out when he starts to struggle and the same for me. We’re all gonna have days where we’re gonna have our difficulties, but we just have to keep pushing.”
The Patriots have plenty of depth at the running back position, and each back bring something else to the table for this team. Shane Vereen is an explosive change-of-pace RB with incredible pass-catching skills, Ridley is a feature back, Leon Washington is an excellent returner, Blount is a home-run back (not a bruiser, get that straight despite his big frame), and Bolden is a bulldozer.
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