Stevan Ridley has emerged as one of the league’s most explosive halfbacks with his bruising running style. Backup Shane Vereen is a versatile player that will be handed the ball often occasionally, but will likely be utilized regularly on the outside as a pass-catching running back. Evasive return man Leon Washington should see some carries in the backfield as well. Ridley, Vereen and Washington all possess too much unique talent to be released.
The Patriots also currently have LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden on the roster, but will head coach Bill Belichick actually carry five running backs on the team? All five tailbacks could legitimately make the team, but it’s doubtful the Patriots will opt to fill so much space on the roster at one position.
Blount and Bolden are the only halfbacks in actual danger of getting cut. Who will the Patriots decide to waive then when push comes to shove on Aug. 31 when the roster must be trimmed to 53 players?
In all likelihood, it will be Bolden packing his bags out of the locker room in a week. Blount has played much better this preseason, recording two touchdowns in the first preseason contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. He also led the team in rushing yards in their blowout loss to the Detroit Lions, albeit only registering 26 yards on the ground.
Bolden likely dug his own grave with his costly fumble in the first quarter of Thursday night’s exhibition contest against the Lions. Turning the ball over is the cardinal sin for any NFL team, but fumbling the ball is especially costly for a Patriots team that instills a no-nonsense policy about coughing the ball up.
After being suspended for four games last year for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, Bolden was on the outside looking in on the halfback depth chart heading into the year. Simply put, Bolden’s play this preseason has not merited a spot on the Patriots roster that is loaded with running back talent.