Attention, National Football League: The New England Patriots' multifaceted offense -- which scored more than 100 points than any other team in the AFC in 2011 -- rolled out a new weapon Sunday.
That would be Stevan Ridley, who came close to the franchise rushing record in a season-opening game with 125 yards in 21 carries . . . only 12 yards short of the 137 gained by Tony Collins against the Baltimore Colts in the 1982 opener.
They also rolled out some new weapons on defense, too.
Like rookie Chandler Jones, who had a sack and a forced fumble for a touchdown. And fellow first-round draft choice Dont'a Hightower, who recovered that forced fumble for the touchdown. They -- along with veteran stalwarts Vince Wilford and Jerod Mayo -- spearheaded a defensive effort that held Titans star Chris Johnson to a rather mind-boggling 4 yards in 11 carries.
So if the Pats are smiling a little wider today after an unsurprising 34-13 road victory over the Tennessee Titans -- a fair-to-middlin' foe, but not in the same class as the defending American Football Conference champions -- you'll understand why.
"It was a good team win," said coach Bill Belichick. "All three units (offense, defense, special teams) contributed . . . I think if we can play that way all season, we'll be all right."
The name that stands out, however, is Ridley. He eased the fears of those worried by the departure of the steady if unspectacular BenJarvus Green-Ellis with a steady and spectacular afternoon. It started with a 17-yard gain on his second touch of the afternoon, and included a 15-yard run on the first play of a second-quarter drive that resulted in a touchdown, and 29 yards on a pair of carries during a third-quarter march that he capped with a one-yard tumble into the end zone, giving the Pats a 28-10 lead and pretty much deciding the game.
"He ran the ball extremely well," said Tom Brady, who was his usual 23-of-31, 236-yard, 2-touchdown self.
"Stevan ran hard," said Belichick, "broke some tackles."
More to come . . .
After being traded to the Washington Redskins this week, former Patriots center Bryan Stork broke his 35-day Twitter silence to say farewell to New England.
For those who are wondering, the acronym "HTTR" stands for "Hail to the Redskins," the team's fight song. #HTTR is used by the team and fans on social media.
Stork was reportedly mulling retirement after being dealt, but has decided to report.
The Patriots informed Stork of his release early Wednesday, but the Patriots and Redskins were able to work out a deal for a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick before the move was processed.
Ray Ratto joins Chevrolet SportsNet Central to discuss Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers preseason game.
Bill Belichick was expansive Saturday when asked on a conference call how he'll split the quarterback reps for the Patriots final preseason game Thursday in New York.
"I think that’s a good question, it’s a fair question, it’s one that we really have to give some good consideration to," Belichick began. "As I said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the Arizona game. Tom [Brady] isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby [Brissett] certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them. We could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week and they’d all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can’t."
Since they can't, Belichick said there will be situational work done with whoever isn't going to get the game reps.
"We only have one game and so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another," said Belichick. "You can sort of control those in how you want those broken down, what’s best, what does each guy need and how can we get the best we need for each guy. I need to let them get the reps that they need, but it’s how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for. They all need to get ready for different things.
What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is, and it’s going to be a lot different than what Jacoby’s is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again. So again, there’s no perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up."
As I wrote earlier today, this is the sticky and uncomfortable situation arising from Deflategate. It's not a Tom Brady penalty. It's a team penalty when one considers the ripple effects. And there's no handbook to consult.