Stevan Ridley inactive vs. Texans

Updated: December 1, 2013, 12:23 PM ET
By Field Yates | ESPNBoston.com

New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, who has fumbled in three straight games, is inactive and will not play Sunday against the Houston Texans.

Ridley was benched following a first-quarter fumble against the Denver Broncos last week. His backup, LeGarrette Blount, also was benched following a fumble of his own.

[+] EnlargeStevan Ridley
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaStevan Ridley lost his fourth fumble of the season on the Patriots' opening drive last Sunday against Denver and was benched for the remainder of the game.

The Patriots used second-year player Brandon Bolden to complement Shane Vereen, the team's top option in its up-tempo offense. Vereen has at least seven catches in each game that he has played in this season.

Fumbles have bothered Ridley since being drafted in the third round in 2011, as he has nine career fumbles -- six of which have been lost -- in 42 regular-season games.

Ridley, who called his Week 12 fumble "almost disgusting," has not shied away from the criticism.

"Personally, as a player, my team deserves better," he said following New England's overtime win against Denver.

While noting that ball security is the most important job for a running back earlier this week, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick also suggested that he didn't believe Ridley's fumbling woes were not correctable.

"I don't think any of our backs have an issue that I would say would prevent them from being a productive player," he said during an interview with WEEI sports radio in Boston.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also told WEEI on Monday morning that he still has confidence in Ridley, and that the running back will be needed down the stretch.

Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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