Patriots, Bill Belichick’s bold move
The New England Patriots youth movement was in full swing in Buffalo for the crucial Week 4 game against the Bills. It’s been well documented that this is the youngest Patriots team Bill Belichick has coached. There are youngsters playing key roles on offense and defense, many of them early draft picks so it’s not a total surprise that guys like Chandler Jones, Donta Hightower and Stevan Ridley have been making both headlines in the press and plays on the field. Yet a key to New England’s long term success this season and beyond is an undrafted free agent rookie signing from Mississippi.
The loss of BenJarvis Green-Ellis during the off-season seemingly opened the door for Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen to take over the Patriots’ backfield and supply the offense with some type of 1-2 punch. Ridley’s held up his end but Vereen has continued a pro career full of injuries and struggles to get on the field. Ridley shined in the season opener against Tennessee and proved serviceable in the home opener against Arizona, but the running game as a whole was stymied against the Ravens and at 1-2 New England found their backs against the wall. Then Bill Belichick pulled a classic Belichick move in turning to a virtual no-name in running back Brandon Bolden to turn the tide and now everything has changed in Foxboro.
Bolden showed flashes of his ability in training camp but it wasn’t until the Bills game in Buffalo where he showed what made him an SEC threat at Ole Miss. Belichick called his number and Bolden delivered for 137 yards rushing and a score. Bolden showed flare, flash & fortitude as he hit the holes and bowled over Buffalo defenders in a coming out party that can set up the Patriots for another dominating season of a different kind. Tom Brady looks, well, like Tom Brady and the brief Edelman/Welker “situation” seems to be a dead issue and for the first time since the Krafts have taken over the team the Patriots have a true running back combo that can wear down defenses while opening even more possibilities on offense than what already existed.
With a young and still evolving defense the Patriots offense is going to be their best defense especially against the better quarterbacks in the league as New England’s secondary is still suspect. How do you slow down the likes of Peyton Manning, and Matt Schaub? Keep them off the field, and how do you do that? By keeping the offense on the field with a running game and Brandon Bolden is now a key piece of that strategy, not just for the regular season but for this post-season and beyond. Much like taking a safety in Denver and giving the reigns of the team to a 6th round QB Belichick’s bold move has paid off once again for the Patriots.