The New England Patriots leader in rushing on the season was proving to show signs of growing up, when after being benched for fumbling in three straight games, he hadn’t welcomed a single member of media to his locker. Things have changed.
On Thursday, Stevan Ridley welcomed the slew of reporters as he was fed the ball the most since the first game he fumbled in 2013 against the Steelers all the way back on November third. Ridley had 26 carries that day (a season high) and had 15 on Sunday against the Ravens. Both games resulted in blowout wins for the Patriots and, I guess, that has Ridley thinking he should talk.
“For me, I don’t let anything break me, man. I really don’t. I knew what I did to get there,” Ridley said. “It wasn’t like Coach Belichick just up and decided to bench me for the game. There was a reason for him doing what he did. He’s one of the best coaches to coach this sport, and I respect whatever he puts me through.”
“Did I agree with it? No, but that wasn’t my call. I’m the player, and I play. He’s the coach, and he coaches. So whatever I got thrown my way, I had to handle it. It wasn’t a pride thing. There wasn’t any sulking.”
Okay, pause. You don’t agree with being benched after fumbling in three straight games? I guess that’s why Belichick is the coach, but that one’s pretty easy. I was one for sitting Ridley the rest of the year after the third fumble, but with the loss of Gronkowski, and Vereen getting a little shaken up in the last game, I am willing to work with him.
He’s the Patriots best pure rusher and I think they may need him with the lack of weapons in the red zone, but let’s not skip over the facts. Ridley’s yards per rush is 4.2. Bolden and Vereen’s yards per rush is 4.9. LeGarrette Blount’s yards per rush is 4.5. If you can understand numbers, Ridley’s last of the four running back’s in yards per rush.
Longest runs from scrimmage can show a running back’s explosiveness and Ridley doesn’t take the cake there either. Blount ran a 47 yarder earlier in the season, Bolden broke one for 46 and Ridley is third behind them with his longest on the year being 23 yards.
Facts are facts so someone take the microphone away from that man because most people agreed with benching you dude. Get the reporters away and practice not fumbling some more because we need you and the ball in the playoffs.