“He’s a hard worker,’’ Ridley said of Blount. “He’s a 250-pound back and was a 1,000-yard rusher down at Tampa Bay. I watched him when he was at Oregon. He came out the year before me and he’s also a special player.’’
Signed by the Titans as a rookie free agent in 2010, Blount was released and claimed off waivers by the Buccaneers. He led all rookie running backs with 1,007 yards in 2010 and became only the second undrafted rookie running back in league history to rush for more than 1,000 yards.
“This running back group is young,’’ Ridley said. “We have every different style of runner in the room. We have pretty much every runner we need. We have guys who can be receivers out of the backfield, we have power runners, we have slashers, we have fullbacks who are coming in and making an impression.
“We’re a group that’s working as one unit and we have to get it done if we have to get it done on the ground.”
On the sideline
Rookie receiver Aaron Dobson, who has gotten off to a strong start, was on the sidelines Tuesday. He walked onto the field in shorts and a T-shirt a little more than an hour into the practice session, and was moving gingerly, though there was not a brace or wrap readily visible on either leg.
A league source said Dobson took a cleat to the leg, but he was fine and is expected to be at Thursday’s practice.
Fellow rookie wideout Mark Harrison, who is on the non-football injury list and has yet to take part in camp, was also a spectator.
Dobson’s absence meant more chances for yet another rookie, Kenbrell Thompkins. Thompkins, undrafted out of Louisville, had a solid outing Tuesday after a rough practice Monday night, when he had a couple of drops.
Asked about the opportunity he has to earn a roster spot and playing time with the Patriots’ receiver competition fairly open, Thompkins said, “I leave that up to the coaches; that’s something you have to ask coach Belichick.
“I’m just out here, all the receivers, we’re all just out here trying to compete every day, work hard, and push each other. But as far as coming out here, playing and everything, I’ll leave that up to the coaches.”
Thompkins had 34 catches for 541 yards and two touchdowns as a senior last fall.