Stevan Ridley’s relative absence from the offense this season has been a bit curious, but the running back isn’t griping about his role. Ridley is one of the offense’s few carryovers at the skill positions from last season, though he hasn’t had many opportunities to back up his breakout campaign. “I’m a team player, and I’ll die a team player,” Ridley said. “I just have to go out there and keep working. I can’t sit on the past. Yeah, I had an awesome year last year and this is not the start that I wanted, but it’s nothing I can sulk on. The offense is going through a lot of changes right now, and it’s about the 11 guys that are out there. It’s not about me as an individual. “Of course I have my personal goals, but I live and die with this team. I just have to continue to be a strong point on the team, a player that they can call on when they need me to play. I can’t really worry about the numbers and them not matching up to last year because we don’t know what the future holds, and I definitely can’t look back. I know what I’m capable of doing, and that’s what I’m going to try to do, to go out there and get it done on the ground as much as they need me to.” To show how seldom the Patriots have used Ridley, he has 78 carries in the Patriots’ 500 offensive plays (15.6 percent) this season. Only five teams — the Browns (Willis McGahee, 14.6 percent), Saints (Pierre Thomas, 14.6 percent), Steelers (Le’Veon Bell, 13.9 percent), Rams (Daryl Richardson, 13.9 percent) and Giants (David Wilson, Brandon Jacobs, 10.1 percent each) — have given their leading rusher the ball less frequently. Considering McGahee’s late signing, Bell’s injury and similar issues with the Giants’ tandem, Ridley’s carrying clip is even more startling. Of course, Ridley had an early-season benching and missed a game with a lower thigh injury, but a handful of other backs around the league have faced comparable issues and maintained a higher ratio of their team’s total, including Eddie Lacy of the Packers (20.8 percent), the Raiders’ Darren McFadden (18.9 percent), Trent Richardson of the Colts (17.0 percent) and the Falcons’ Jacquizz Rodgers (16.2 percent). It’s a steep downturn from the first seven weeks of last season, too, when Ridley had 135 carries in the Patriots’ 546 plays (24.7 percent), and he was fifth in the NFL in carries, seventh in yards (589) and tied for sixth in touchdowns (four).
Stevan Ridley confident despite dropoff
Boston Herald | Oct 26