Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ridley realistic about expectations for this season


Stevan Ridley has experienced some real highs and lows since taking over as the New England Patriots' top running back.

Take 2012 for example. The then-23-year-old posted the fourth-most rushing yards of any Patriots rusher with 1,263 yards, while also tying for the third-most rushing touchdowns with 12.

He was the workhorse of the offense, particularly after the team had mounted a solid lead, attempting nearly 300 carries and averaging more than four yards a carry.

On the other side of the coin, however, were the fumbles. Ridley had four that season, second-most of any back in the league, according to ProFootballFocus. He followed that up with three more the next season and saw his playing time dwindle as a result. His attempts dropped to 178, as did his yardage (773) and touchdowns (7) as guys like LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden saw more action between the tackles.

As he preps for Week 1 against the Dolphins Sunday, the former LSU star is being realistic about this goals for the upcoming season.

"What I strive to do every day is try to be the best running back that I can be to help us be productive, to help us win games," Ridley said via Lee Schecter of "That doesn’t mean I’m going to be perfect and that I’m going to be out there making a bunch of errors, but it does mean that I have every day to come out here and try to be better than I was the day before. And that’s all that I can do."

He said he'll be "trying to light it up to be the best that I can be" this week against a Miami front seven that struggled last season to stop the run. Ridley averaged nearly five yards a carry against in two combined meetings last year, though he only saw a total of 22 attempts in those two games.

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