Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Patriot RBs Ridley, Vereen neighbors on and off field

Photo: Beth Hart, Flickr 

Running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen were both drafted by the Patriots in 2011 and became neighbors in New England's offensive backfield.

But that's not all.

"Shane is actually my next door neighbor, so not only is he a good teammate, but he's my neighbor," Ridley told reporters Tuesday.

"We spend a lot of time breaking down the playbook together, studying it together and trying to better each other," Ridley said. "I'm running things off of Shane, Shane is running things off of me and we're really working together. It's a team concept here at the Patriots and that's what we need to continue to do if we want to be successful."

The two sophomore tailbacks are battling for playing time this offseason, as New England parted ways with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who signed with the Bengals. New England, However, still has veteran third-down back Danny Woodhead on the roster, as well as former Colt Joseph Addai trying to earn a gig.

In limited time during the 2011 season, Ridley gained 441 yards on 87 carries for a 5.07 yards-per-rush average. He found the end zone once. Vereen also recored a score but only attempted 15 rushes, picking up a total of 87 yards.

"... we're going through the same struggles on the field and off the field at the same time," Vereen said of his bond with Ridley. "Both of our heads were spinning 100 miles an hour last year. It's a very good bond between me and Stevan."

Despite the fact that there probably won't be room for two dominant tailbacks in New England's pass-happy offense, which also includes veteran Danny Woodhead in the backfield, Vereen thinks the pair can compliment each other.

"I do. I think we're both good backs. I think we both can do a lot of good things on the field. We still have a long way to go though."

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