Stevan Ridley has been long on talent in his tenure with the New England Patriots, but he has fumbled in three consecutive games. Now is the time to remove Ridley from his starting job.
If Ridley had only fumbled once every four games (which was about his career average before this stretch), then that would not be as big of a deal. But it has become a trend with him, and a costly one at that. A running back cannot play significant snaps if he is going to keep turning the ball over.
So where should Josh McDaniels go from here? First, he must increase the carries for Shane Vereen and LaGarrette Blount. Blount should be the primary runner, but Vereen should see between seven and 10 carries per game. This is because Blount cannot be fully trusted with 15-20 carries per game. He tends to slow down if he gets too many carries.
As for Ridley, it is time for him to switch roles with Blount. For those of you who did not know, Blount was previously the clock-killing running back for the Patriots. He would normally get 5-10 carries per game, mostly to just gain a few yards and go down.
This is what Ridley must do now. His carries must be limited so that he can have less of a chance to fumble the football in a key situation. However, he must get some carries to possibly work his way back into the rotation. If Ridley can finish the season without putting the ball on the ground, then perhaps he can become the primary ball carrier for an expected Patriots playoff run.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.