Ridley doesn't mind a bump or two in camp

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Ridley doesn't mind a bump or two in camp

FOXBORO -- After two days in shells, the Patriots put the pads on Saturday.

And in short order, Stevan Ridley was put on the ground. On consecutive plays.

It's only worth remarking upon because the style in camp is to "thump" or wrap a ball carrier then release him. But on Saturday, Ridley got knocked horizontal by cornerback Ras-I Dowling. On the next play, safety Patrick Chung grabbed hold of the 220-pound Ridley and flipped him to the ground.

While Dowling's hit seemed incidental, it was pretty clear Chung was looking to get a training camp tackle under his belt. For that, Bill Belichick sent Chung for a lap around the goal post.

I asked Ridley about the hits Sunday afternoon.

"I didn't even see Ras-I," Ridley explained. "Ras-I hit me and it was like he came out of nowhere almost. I asked when we got in the locker room, 'Where did you come from?' and he said, 'Rid, I was right there!' Man, I didn't even see him. I was just running and he hit me on the side when I was finishing a run -- coaches tell us to finish the runs, you don't want a DB running you out of bounds. Chung just kind of tied me up, but that's camp."

With more than 10,000 fans in the stands every afternoon to watch tag football that becomes bloodsport in September, any play that results in a clash of pads and a rolling human is celebrated.

And Ridley's happy to oblige.

"Everybody's excited, everybody's trying to get that contact in and we're just trying to get into football shape," he explained. "I'm not worried about it. I'm sitting at 220, a little bit bigger back. I'm gonna be on the ground some, as long as I'm falling forward, I'm doing my job."

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

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Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."