Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 10/5/11

How much longer are the New England Patriots going to go with the Law Firm and Woodhead approach at tailback? Don’t get me wrong, it’s working for them, both BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead are serviceable to solid, but I wonder if they’ll ever bring back a feature back mentality.

The last bulk carrier was Corey Dillon and that was over three years ago. Many draftniks thought they were going to take Trent Richardson’s predecessor in Alabama- Mark Ingram, but it didn’t happen. Instead Ingram went to the Miami Dolphins.

Instead the Pats drafted Stevan Ridley in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft with the 73rd overall pick, just a round after the Patriots drafted another running back, Shane Vereen from California

The rookie Ridley scored his first NFL touchdown last Sunday in the Patriots’ 31–19 win over the Oakland Raiders; he had 97 yards on 10 carries (9.7 yards per carry- OBVIOUSLY), including a 33-yard touchdown run, and a 3-yard reception.

When Ridley played his college football at Lousiana State he saw action in three seasons. But only had 57 total carries the first two years. In ’10 he had one season over being the man, as he accrued over 1,100 yards rushing. So he only has one season in experience carrying the load.

Does that mean the best football of his career is ahead of him, since he has so little mileage on him? Or conversely that he’s not experienced enough to be the every down back. It all depends on how you analyze, or perhaps over-analyze it. The Patriots are a pass-first, and pass-second offense. And they have Wes Welker, who are some are calling the best WR in all of football right now.

Not to mention the fact that today’s NFL is extremely pass-oriented, and the need for a feature back isn’t what it was 15-20 years ago. However, it would surely help Tom Brady and company to have a legit go-to guy on the ground; and a back to pick up short yardage. Kevin Faulk (also a LSU product) was the last time the offense had a go-to back on third down (even if it was on a screen pass).

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He has appeared on live radio shows all across the world. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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