Stevan Ridley doesn’t know when or if he’s going to get another chance.
But he knows someone who got one, and made good on it.
After three straight weeks with a fumble, the Patriots running back put in a call to former Patriots back Kevin Faulk, himself a recovering fumbler who was able to work his way back into coach Bill Belichick’s good graces.
“It was good,” Faulk told Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald about his talk with Ridley. “I can’t tell you about the conversation, but I can tell you as a person who has been in the situation, I just try to get him a better understanding of where he was as far as what he needs to do going forward. Hopefully something I said would be something that would be familiar to him that he would recognize what he needs to do.”
Faulk went from being loose with the ball to one of the veterans the Patriots knew they could trust.
But Ridley has some work to do to get there, having lost four this season, and been benched for it.
Ridley admitted the fumbles were “sickening” and that he understood his benching after losing four this year, but he can take heart in knowing it’s a problem that can be corrected.
Faulk lost six fumbles in his first two seasons, and had four in 2003. But then he went five years without losing one, so he was in a position to offer advice.
“It was just a fact of me understanding who I was as a runner, what I had to change in order to maintain [the ball],” Faulk said. “I can tell you one thing. After a while, I never switched the ball. I always kept the ball in my left hand. That was just one thing, but there are a lot of different things that just take practice and practice. Not just practice on the field, but it takes practice off the field, not thinking about it, not mentally getting yourself disturbed about it. . . .
“Like I told him, you really have to be mentally in tune. Some things may have to change. I’m not saying everything has to change, but something has to change because obviously that something is happening. We can say it’s a funk, but we still have to pay attention to that funk and take care of that funk.”
Taking care of the ball is a good first step, one that Faulk knows from experience.