Ridley is clearly trying to correct the issue, even going so far as to contact former Patriots running back Kevin Faulk, who battled his own fumbling problems early in his career before becoming pretty dependable in that department. And a guy who is being productive will be given more chances — Ridley had scored a touchdown in five straight games before his relegation to the doghouse in the Denver game. At the end of the day, Ridley is talented enough that I think the Patriots will stick with him in an effort to keep him feeling confident and to cash in on the potential he has for the future.
The 49ers’ offense should get a boost this week with the return of wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree was officially activated off the PUP list this week after having torn his Achillies in May.
Colin Kaepernick has not been the same player this season as he was in the team’s run to the Super Bowl last year and Crabtree’s absence could have played a large role in that. San Francisco is averaging a league-worst 173.5 receiving yards per game and is also averaging the fewest passes attempted per game at 25.1. Crabtree had a breakout year in 2012, pulling in a career-high 85 receptions for 1,105 yards to go with nine touchdowns. So, it’s not hard to see a cause and effect scenario at play here.
Moreover, Crabtree’s return should help ease the pressure on Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis. The 49ers website reported that Thursday was the first time all season that Boldin, Crabtree, Davis and wideout Mario Manningham had all practiced together. Clearly the more options there are, the less opposing defenses can hone in on Boldin and Davis without getting burned somewhere else.
Even if Crabtree’s not 100 percent yet, his presence alone should be significant. I know that as a Kapernick owner I’m feeling better already.