Patriots’ Brandon Bolden, Jonas Gray Could Take Over For Stevan Ridley (Video)


October 14, 2014

It could take a while for the New England Patriots to find Stevan Ridley’s ultimate replacement.

Ridley, who went down with a severe knee injury on Sunday in the Patriots’ 37-22 win over the Buffalo Bills, has received 94 of the Patriots’ 178 carries this season, so the team must fill a major void as they expect to lose the fourth-year running back for the season. Brandon Bolden took over for Ridley in the third and fourth quarters against the Bills, but the Patriots could give rookie James White and practice-squad back Jonas Gray opportunities to be that “bellcow” back, as well.

Bolden is only averaging 1.7 yards on 15 carries this season, but he’s proven to be a productive back in the past. He has 126 career rushing attempts for 570 yards with five touchdowns. One of the 5-foot-11, 220-pound running back’s biggest strengths is his big play ability. Bolden has six career carries of 20 yards or more.

Bolden hasn’t been told that he’ll be the Patriots’ starter moving forward, however.

“They haven?t told me anything,” Bolden said Tuesday in the Patriots’ locker room. “I just came in this week expecting to do whatever they ask me to do.”

White also hasn’t been told if he’ll receive more reps this week. White has only been active in one game this season — the Patriots’ 41-17 loss to the Chiefs, when he had three carries for 21 yards and three catches for 15 yards. White is a smaller back, however, at 5-foot-9, 204 pounds, and could be looked at as a backup third-down back to Shane Vereen, not Ridley.

Gray could see snaps in that “bellcow” role if Bolden doesn’t work out as a starter. Gray played well in the preseason, picking up 142 yards on 37 carries. The 5-foot-10, 225-pound running back plays his best between the tackles.

Gray hasn’t been informed that he’ll be signed of the practice squad yet, and the Patriots could make that move as late as Wednesday at 4 p.m..

?Every week?s a possibility,” Gray said Tuesday. “You never know what might happen, so especially with a short week, you just prepare the best way you know how.”

Replacing Ridley won’t be easy, but the Patriots have some appealing options on their roster. Vereen, who has received goal-line carries this season, should see an increased workload regardless of who takes over Ridley’s main role.

The Patriots also could look outside the organization for a free-agent running back, but they’ll give the players they have the first shot to earn the starting role on Thursday night against the New York Jets.

Thumbnail photo via Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports Images

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