FOXBORO -- Stevan Ridley declined to speak with members of the media in the Patriots locker room on Thursday. Seconds after he did, his teammate and fellow running back Shane Vereen picked him up, turning and talking in front of the cameras Ridley left behind.
"Stevan is a great player," Vereen said. "We're there when he needs us, but he knows what he has to do and we fully expect him to do that."
Ridley was inactive Sunday against the Texans after losing fumbles in New England's three previous games. In his absence, Patriots running backs chipped in in a variety of ways to help them earn a 34-31 win.
Vereen finished with 10 carries for 38 yards and five catches for 37 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. LeGarrette Blount ran for 44 yards and a touchdown, and fullback James Develin also had a score.
It wasn't a bad day for Patriots running backs, but as a positional group, they're hoping Ridley solves his fumbling woes and regains faith in himself to carry the ball securely.
"Everybody goes through ups and downs," Vereen said. "That's part of the game. When you're down, you need teammates, you need friends to bring you back to where you should be and help you start playing with confidence again."
Getting Ridley back to where he needs to be has been a team effort, Vereen explained.
"As a running back group we're pretty close," he said. "For that reason alone, no one's too far down nobody's too high up. Everybody helps each other and keeps each other going."
In his last three games since returning from short-term injured reserve, Vereen has had 21 catches for 162 yards and 21 carries for 76 yards. He said the wrist injury that kept him out for over two months hasn't slowed him at all in his return.
"I feel good," he said. "I haven't had any problems with it. Haven't had any issues with it. Really there's not too much thought about it at all."