In response to DeadAhead's comment:
I feel for the kid. BUt, I was stunned with his fumble the other night, just 6 says removed from the one in Carolina. He has to know, if he is more careful in the red zone in Carolina, we win that game last week.
I think the solution to this probem is simple:
1. Scale back his touches. Faulk was more lethal with less touches, on passing downs and with draws from the shotgun.
2. Establish a run with Bolden instead.
3. Do not use Ridely for short yardage situations.
IMO, he's more of a scatback style runner who happens to be bigger. Blount is somewhat similar, where you look at their frames and you think "power back". The irony is, they don't technically use their frames the way they should. Ridley wants to, it just appears he isn't aware when approaching contact.
He needs to get lower and what I like to call "ball up" where you make yourself tighter and smaller. He makes his target area bigger and wider. Look at the fumble.
Think MJ Drew and a runner like that. He has an advantage with his natural center of gravity which Ridley does not have, so Ridley needs to see he's about to be hit and then adjust. He's not adjusting. Ray Rice is another example. Each is very low, which is really what you want. THis is why Woodhead absorbs hits so well, too. Woodhead is not a good in between the tackles runner, though. He benefits of the passing game.
Ridley has very good vision and feel at the line, but when multiple tacklers converge, he isn't being conservative, balling up and protecting the ball.
I would use Bolden because he hits the hole a bit faster and sticks with it. So, what may only be a 2-3 yard gain on one carry, while not bad for an offense like this, those runs may eventually become larger and larger as the game goes.
But, if you're barely giving him 12 or 13 carries, he's not going to get the desired production.
If it's true his knee is only 75%, maybe rest him up some more until he feel closer to 100%. We will need a lead power back come January, and he's our best one. Been saying for months.
And, I am a big Ridley fan.
Nothing wrong with putting each RB and their skill sets into their best roles. I would filter in Ridley and Vereen as Bolden's back ups on passing downs, because each Ridley and Vereen are very good off of draws, too.
Bolden (60%), Ridley (25%), Vereen (15%)
The other thing, too: USe more split back formations. Vereen is like a slot WR a lot of the time now, so just move him back from the slot and vice versa.
One fumble, one turnover in an AFC Title game or SB can be the difference. I am a big, big believer in that which is why I've been so frustarted with Brady's reckless and wanted his pass attempts scaled back.
Aaaaand the defense rests - can't believe the Pats haven't hired you - genius!