Ridley on fumbles: 'I need to avoid those plays'

Ridley on fumbles: 'I need to avoid those plays'
August 18, 2014, 5:45 pm
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FOXBORO – Having Stevan Ridley at running back must be like living on the San Andreas Fault.

One second, everything’s perfect, the next...disaster. And the aftershocks just keep coming.

Friday night, fumble-prone Stevan Ridley – after about 20 days of dropless football carrying – had the ball torn loose on a run late in the first half.

The Patriots recovered. And the replay showed that Ridley was probably down before the ball popped loose. But people get jumpy when Ridley finishes a run without the ball in his hands because the initial fumble is sometimes followed by a series of aftershocks.

After practice on Monday, Ridley delved into the play and its aftermath.

“Too close to call [whether it was a fumble or not] but either way I need to avoid those plays in general,” Ridley began. “I hated it and it was a sick feeling for a second but. We looked at the play and it is what it is but one out is too many. I’m not gonna harp on that, I’m gonna learn from it.”

Asked what he could have done differently, Ridley replied, “That’s what I’m still trying to figure out. You’re getting tackled by a few defenders and it’s football. They’re taught to go after the ball and attack it. It’s just being alert and being conscious of that and getting two hands on it. That’s really all you can do.

“I went back and watched the play and the ball is out – again...Week 2 – it kinda sucks,” he added. “But it’s football. I can’t get down about it, I can’t harp about it, that’s why you have preseason.”

Ridley didn’t play the rest of the night, although the fumble came late in the half and it’s likely he was done for the evening anyway. And he ran like his usual self – very effectively (nine carries, 45 yards).

Bill Belichick believes fumbling is a vile, nasty habit. His banishment of Ridley in 2013 after a spate of big-game drops was a dominant storyline and had a domino effect that opened the door for LeGarrette Blount to emerge, run well and sign a free agent deal in Pittsburgh.

It also put Ridley in a position where – entering the final year of his contract – the entire league knows his rep is that he’s got the drops and he’s got ‘em bad.

On Belichick’s conference call Saturday, he indicated he gave no craps whether the fumble was a fumble or not.

Nobody can ever accuse Ridley of not facing up to the litany of questions that come after he finishes a run without the ball in his possession.

“It’s part of your job,” he said. “I know it’s coming. Y’all have to write articles and do what y’all do but it’s part of it, you take the good with the bad. I’m just thankful it’s preseason. It was a close call, the ball was out, coulda been down, could not have been down but guess what, if it’s in my hands I don’t have to answer that question. But either way, I’m man enough to stand here and do what I do.

“I just gotta learn from it and keep moving and not sulk on it,” he concluded. “I will try not to have this issue and this be the topic the whole year this year because I think I can do a few other things that y’all can write about and hopefully have some good things to say.”