There’s nothing Bill Belichick hates more than fumbling and running back Stevan Ridley found himself on the bench as a result of his fumbling woes last season. He accrued eight fumbles in the last two seasons and Belichick went as far as making Ridley a healthy scratch last December against the Texans after Ridley fumbled late in a crucial game against the Broncos.
So while everyone has their finger to the pulse of the Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, a rookie is far more likely to be featured at running back than quarterback. The Patriots fourth-round selection James White and undrafted free agent Stephen Houston could vie for Ridley’s role in the offense.
The Patriots ran a three back rotation last year featuring Ridley early in the game, Vareen as change of pace and LeGarrette Blount as bruising closer (meaning he finished the game by chewing clock). Ridley and Blount, however, were the two focal points of the rushing attack. With Blount gone and Ridley’s handling ability in question, the door is wide open at running back.
As a result, James White is a perfect fit for the Patriots. If at any point Ridley struggles with ball security, White has the perfect resume to take his place. He only had two fumbles on 754 collegiate carries. White catches the ball well, but most importantly, he’s tough in pass protection. His exceptional history with ball security and in pass protection were the reason the Patriots selected White. They’ll be the reason he supplants Ridley, too.
[h/t: CBS Sports]