Good article about Stevan Ridley, about learing ball controll and being benched last year... what do you think?

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    Good article about Stevan Ridley, about learing ball controll and being benched last year... what do you think?

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Stevan Ridley learned the hard way as a rookie. Hold on to the ball or grab a seat on the bench.

    His fumble in the third quarter of the New England Patriots' divisional playoff win over the Denver Broncos was the final time he got the ball last season. He didn't suit up for the AFC title game and was in uniform for the Super Bowl, but didn't play.

    ''Being sat down (for) the AFC championship's pretty much a lesson learned for me,'' Ridley said. ''Yeah, I learned my lesson from that. I'm trying not to repeat the same mistakes.''

    With a renewed focus on holding the ball high and tight with two hands, he's off to a good start this season as the Patriots' new top running back.

    In the first game of his second season, he rushed 21 times for 125 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 27 yards. That's a total of 23 touches, 152 yards, one touchdown - and no fumbles.

    Ridley actually fumbled in consecutive games as a rookie. In the season finale against the Buffalo Bills, he gained 13 yards on a run before the ball was knocked loose and rolled out of bounds. The Patriots kept possession then, but the playoff bobble was recovered by the Broncos, although the Patriots led 42-7 at the time.

    ''That wasn't the first fumble I had. I hope it was the last one I'll have, but what are the chances of that?'' he said Wednesday before practice for the home opener against the Arizona Cardinals. ''So for me, I can't sulk on the bad and I can't sit on the good. It's just to continue working and keep your nose down and you grind it out.''

    The Patriots drafted Ridley in the third round from LSU. He learned for a year while contributing 441 yards on 87 carries as the backup to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Then Green-Ellis, who didn't fumble a single time in four seasons with the Patriots, signed as a free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals.

    So far Ridley is making the most of his second chance.

    He's shiftier and quicker than Green-Ellis. But he still has the strength to take on large defenders. He bounced off potential tacklers several times to pick up extra yardage in last Sunday's 34-13 win over the Tennessee Titans.

    ''You can't play the position being scared and you're going to take a lot of contact,'' he said, ''but, as a runner, you can try to deliver the blow instead of taking the hit. I think that your career might last a little bit longer. So that's kind of my philosophy of running the ball. I'm trying to get downhill, man. Just deliver the punch instead of taking all the beatings.''

    The Patriots showed good offensive balance against the Titans with 35 runs and 32 pass plays. Last season they averaged 40 pass plays and 27 runs.

    Their comfortable lead over Tennessee allowed them to keep the attack balanced.

    ''Depending on the game situation, it becomes maybe a bit out of balance if you get a substantial lead or vice versa, where the second half, you may be forced to throw it a lot more than you would like to,'' quarterback Tom Brady said. ''But when it's a competitive game and it's still the first quarter, second quarter and you play some of these games that are going to be four-quarter games, you really have to be able to (be balanced) over the course of the entire game.''

    Ridley progressed as a rookie to the point where his most carries came in each of his last three regular-season games. He gained 210 yards, nearly half his season total, on 39 attempts.

    Now he's building on that.

    ''He's a good back,'' Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said, ''makes good cuts, good feet, good balance. I'm very impressed with what I've seen of him on tape.''

    Ridley's power and elusiveness were evident early against Tennessee. He had rushes of 17 yards on each of the Patriots first two series. He had a 7-yard reception on the third. And he started the fourth with a 15-yard run.

    On one series late in the third quarter, he reeled off gains of 15 and 14 yards then scored on a 1-yard run as the Patriots took a 28-10 lead.

    ''Stevan did a good job of running hard in the game, made some yards after contact. He converted on some short yardage and goal-line opportunities,'' offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. ''He's a young player that works very hard during course of the week and has really made strides in a lot of different areas.''

    So if the running game is working, why not just keep handing Ridley the ball?

    ''That's not my call,'' he said. ''I just do my job, man. I'm not trying to be Superman or anything over the top.''

    No, just trying to keep the ball off the ground.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from mthurl. Show mthurl's posts

    Re: Good article about Stevan Ridley, about learing ball controll and being benched last year... what do you think?

    He sounds humble, which is good and Josh mentions how hard the kid works during the week. There hasn't been a lot of stories on the kid - I imagine that will change if he continues to put up numbers. I just want to see him play a lot and improve because he looks like he's got some skills and size..it doesn't hurt that defenses are going to be concerned with stopping our passing game.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsEng. Show PatsEng's posts

    Re: Good article about Stevan Ridley, about learing ball controll and being benched last year... what do you think?

    I like how he's humble and that hopefully he learned a lesson but I seriously hope that isn't why they didn't play him in the SB.


    They could have really used a slightly more explosive RB to help nuetralize that Giants D and Ridley would have been that guy. I could see them sitting him down for the AFCG but it's the SB you need to use all weapons available. If that was the case then BB's decision to sit Ridley instead of using him might have been the difference in the SB.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from ATJ. Show ATJ's posts

    Re: Good article about Stevan Ridley, about learing ball controll and being benched last year... what do you think?

    Like what we've seen out of Ridley thus far.  Perhaps, in the long run, BB benching him was a watershed moment for him. 

    If BB didn't play him in the SB because of the fumble issue (which wouldn't surprise me) then I quite understand and don't disagree with BB's decision.  Turnovers (or lack thereof) are huge in the ultimate game. 

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from TrueChamp. Show TrueChamp's posts

    Re: Good article about Stevan Ridley, about learing ball controll and being benched last year... what do you think?

    In response to ATJ's comment:

     

    Like what we've seen out of Ridley thus far.  Perhaps, in the long run, BB benching him was a watershed moment for him. 

    If BB didn't play him in the SB because of the fumble issue (which wouldn't surprise me) then I quite understand and don't disagree with BB's decision.  Turnovers (or lack thereof) are huge in the ultimate game. 

     




     

    Limiting turnovers is important, but using an offense with limited versatility leads to turnovers as it did in the SB. If we knew we would only give Benny 10 carries in the afc championship game and then the SB despite his solid production(over 4 ypc) then we should have had Ridley activated. Danny Woodhead cannot run between the tackles and has not been very effective as a power back. If we didn't think Benny could handle the load then we should have had somebody else who could, because passing 135 att's to 55 rush att's has lead to 3 losses in a row against N.Y, unfortunately 2 of those being SB's. Luckily BB brought McDaniels back. Looks like he learned from the 07 SB loss and is doing everything he can to commit to a run game. Love the 3 TE sets, and multiple offensive packages he is already using.

     
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    Re: Good article about Stevan Ridley, about learing ball controll and being benched last year... what do you think?

    I personally was disappointed that they didn't use Ridley more last year because even at the beginning of the season it was clear that he seemed to be a much better runner than either Woodhead or BJGE.  It's hard to say why they didn't use him more.  I suspect one or all of the following, though I certaintly have no way of knowing:

    1.  The fumbling problem showed up in practice, so the coaches had legitimate concerns about his ability to secure the ball.

    2. He was having trouble with pass blocking.  In our offense last year, a back was not going to be on the field if he struggled with that part of the game.

    3. He was still learning the playbook and they felt they had to dial back on some of the plays when he was in. 

    Those are my guesses, because I do think Ridley could have helped the team if he were utilized more.  I have faith, though, that the coaches had a good reason for not keeping him in. 

    I have heard BB say more than once that once a back has shown a tendency to fumble, defenses really key on trying to strip the ball from him, which only increases the odds that the back will fumble again.  This, I think, makes BB reluctant to play guys once they've fumbled a few times. 

    Hernandez, however, seems to get a pass on this rule :-)  In part because of this, I don't think fumbling was the only issue with Ridley last year.  

     

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from freediro. Show freediro's posts

    Re: Good article about Stevan Ridley, about learing ball controll and being benched last year... what do you think?

    Ridley could have definitely been used in the SB as a nice change of pace back to Law Firm. Unfortunately I don't think BB trusted his ability to block and all the other wrinkles our offense can roll out. With that said, I still think he should have been given a few touches just to see if we could get anything else out of the RB position.


    It is clear he did his homework in the offseason and really focused on his training, he looked great last year and now he is putting it all on the field. He seems like a guy who could keep it up all year long with the type of offense we have. Can't wait till he gets even more involved in screen passes and trick plays with some one like Hern at fullback.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from newenglanderinexile. Show newenglanderinexile's posts

    Re: Good article about Stevan Ridley, about learing ball controll and being benched last year... what do you think?

    Whose judgment on Ridley's suitability for playing in the Super Bowl to believe?  That of a coach who has been to the Super Bowl seven times, five times as head coach, and who has lived and breathed Patriots football 24 / 7 for twelve years or that of people who have never been to a team practice or been inside the Patriots' locker room and whose knowledge and understanding of the team derives from their limited exposure via television and online news sources?  This is really tough to answer. 

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from sporter81. Show sporter81's posts

    Re: Good article about Stevan Ridley, about learing ball controll and being benched last year... what do you think?

    Nice read, thanks for the article. He sounds like a good guy, someone who takes this seriously and wants to improve. IMO he was benched in the Super Bowl because of the fumble in the Denver game. I think that he would have made a difference had he played that game. Looks like hes worked hard on correcting the fumble issue, holding the ball higher ect... He's definitely quicker and shiftier than BJGE, makes a lot of yards after first contact.

     
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