The running back situation in New England has always been erratic under Bill Belichick, but it seems that the New England Patriots head coach only has two clear choices for who to give the lion’s share of carries to during the 2012 NFL season.
Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley are both competing for the starting running back job and have different strengths and weaknesses to their game. The two men were drafted in the 2011 NFL draft, with Vereen going No. 56 overall out of Cal and Ridley, an LSU product, following him at No. 73.
With three preseason games and most of training camp already done with, it looks like one man is starting to emerge as the leading candidate for the featured running back to open the 2012 season.
Let’s take a look at the latest news, information and updates right here on this tough positional battle in New England.
Tuesday, August 28 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Current Favorite: Stevan Ridley
Ridley was pushing BenJarvus Green-Ellis for carries at the end of last season, but two costly fumbles landed him on the bench for the remainder of the Pats' postseason run.
He’s got 34 carries for 152 yards this preseason and has looked confident with the ball in his hands. The former Tiger knows that a single mistake could cost him his career in New England.
Because of his impressive yards-per-carry figure and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, it would take a massive error for Ridley to lose his job at this point in the offseason.
Backup: Shane Vereen
Vereen injured his foot on Friday and has yet to prove he is back to 100 percent health.
He’s only averaging 3.5 yards per carry and seemed to be well on his way to the second-string spot on the depth chart before the injury took place.
Unless Ridley goes down with a more serious injury, expect the former Golden Bear to be the No. 2 in NE.
Situational: Danny Woodhead
Woodhead’s having a rough preseason, but Coach Belichick knows he can rely on this young man for depth and his receiving ability.
He should make the final roster and play some role during the season.