The New England Patriots are starting to look like a playoff team again. This is thanks to better performance by Tom Brady and the defense. However, one consistent problem with these Patriots has been the run game, and it took a big hit when the Patriots played the Buffalo Bills. During that game, Ridley suffered a torn ACL and it was announced later that he would miss the rest of the season.
This could end up being a big issue for the Patriots. No NFL team can succeed without a decent running game, and the Patriots barely had that with Ridley. Now that he is out, the Patriots will be looking to Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, and James White to fill the hole left by Ridley’s injury.
Shane Vereen is a mediocre running back. He is more well known for catching passes out of the backfield then running the ball. According to ESPN, Shane Vereen only has 57 rushing yards and 1 rushing touchdown this season. These are not the kind of stats Patriots fans want to see in their first string running back. However, he only has 15 rushing attempts this season, so there is a possibility that more carries is all he needs.
If Vereen does not preform well, then the other two options Bill Belichick has are Brandon Bolden and James White. Brandon Bolden has played in the NFL for three seasons, and has 570 career rushing yards, and five career touchdowns. These stats show that he has the possibility to be a starter, but it will be a risk for the Patriots to use him as one during their journey to the playoffs.
James White is a rookie out of Wisconsin, and he only has three rushing carries during his career in the NFL. He will have to prove himself if he wants the starting job. Ridley’s injury has put the Patriots in a jam only six weeks into the season. Vereen played well against the Jets, but all his yards and touchdowns were receiving. If the Patriots want to be real contenders for the Lombardi trophy, then they will need a pure running back to step up and take over.
Oct 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA;New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen (34) celebrates his touchdown during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports