Stevan Ridley Preseason Preview
Joique Bell have moved on from the worst rushing team in the NFL last season, giving Stevan Ridley an opportunity to revive his career as Detroit’s short-yardage back. In ’12, he led the Patriots with 1,263 yards and 12 TDs. While he’ll be competing with Zach Zenner and others in camp, the Lions are hoping that Ridley can emerge as their power back. Detroit doesn’t have a clear feature RB, so if Stevan impresses, he could become more than just a spot ball carrier.
After tearing an ACL in 2014 season, Ridley has not been the same player, as he struggled to regain strength with the Jets last season, finishing with just 90 yards on 36 rushes. He didn’t practice all spring, so it’s a bit of a mystery as to how much the veteran has left after the injury two years ago. The Lions are high on second-year player Ameer Abdullah, if he can hang on to the ball, and also have Theo Riddick, who is a great weapon as a pass catcher. Zach Zenner, if he makes the team, will push Ridley for short yardage carries. Detroit’s offensive line will be pretty much the same as it was last season, when it struggled to open holes for the RBs.
While he should be fully recovered from the ACL injury and is still only 27-years-old, Stevan feels he can still be an important part of a team. However, Abdullah should lead the team in playing time and carries, making Ridley no better than a handcuff option, at best. Assuming he makes the team, he’ll get some goal line chances, but can you justify a roster spot for a guy who may score a handful of touchdowns during the season. Monitor how things play out during the first couple weeks of the regular season, but Stevan should not be on your opening week roster.