First, it was the people who were flummoxed by Stevan Ridley’s lack of carries.
Then, after Ridley seemingly atoned for his case of the dropsies but was still seeing his reps shut off some games, it was everybody wondering. Sometimes loudly.
Now, when Ridley is on the sidelines for reasons unknown, the region bangs its forehead quietly, rhythmically against the wall until Ridley’s sideline exile ends.
Bill Belichick explained Monday that he isn’t trying to drive everyone crazy.
Here’s his explanation of why sometimes you get a ton of Ridley (like Sunday), and others you get just a pinch.
“I wouldn’t say we go into the game and, ‘OK, well this guy is going to get a lot of opportunity here for ‘X’ amount of time and then we’re going to shift it to somebody else.’ Or, ‘We’re going to get this guy ‘X’ number of carries and then the next guy ‘X’ number and the next guy ‘X’ number so they all get the same amount over whatever, a quarter, a half or whatever fixed period of time there is,’ ” Belichick began. “We just don’t do it that way.
“It’s much more of a, ‘When this grouping is in the game, these players in the game with that grouping, these are the matchups we’re trying to attack on their defense.’ A lot of that is sometimes a function of what (the defense is doing),” Belichick explained. “If they’re back showing a lot of coverage, maybe we run the ball more. If they have everybody on the line of scrimmage, maybe we throw it more. If it’s different blitzes, then those might either cause an audible or it might cause more of a change in the play-calling style, which again, gives you the same effect. I get a lot of the same questions every week and it’s kind of the same answer every week. You can pick out any player you want and say, ‘Well, this guy got a lot of things or that guy didn’t get very much of it.’ We just usually don’t go into the game saying, ‘We’re going to throw the ball to this guy 15 times and we’ll only going to throw to this guy twice.’ Or, ‘We’re going to get this guy 15 carries and this other guy is only going to get two.’ I think that’s just not the way we do it. We try to attack the defense, we try to move the ball, we try to score points, we try to win. If that’s one player getting the ball 10 times and another guy getting it once, and we’re efficient doing it, then that’s OK. If it’s spread equally, that’s OK too.”