Stevan Ridley has learned: Fumbles are the quickest way off the field

AP

Stevan Ridley began last season as the Patriots’ starting running back, but after a stretch in which he lost fumbles in three straight games, he was benched and didn’t start another game the rest of the year. Now he’s warning his teammates that fumbling has consequences.

“I told one of the young guys today, that’s the quickest way to get off the field,” Ridley said. “You can ask me first.”

The good news for the Patriots is that Bill Belichick’s decision to bench Ridley seemed to have the desired effect: As the Patriots’ backup running back for the final four regular-season games and the two playoff games, Ridley didn’t fumble a single time. And Ridley says he’s making it a major focus in Organized Team Activities to hold the ball properly.

“All you can do is really squeeze [the ball] high and tight,” Ridley said. “I think that was a lesson I had to go through and, hopefully, I won’t have to go through it again, but who knows? A little bit of adversity never hurts anybody. . . . When you lose focus on the small things — whether it’s small assignments, whether it’s carrying the football, whether it’s running a route, whether its blitz pickup — those are things that cost you your playing time.”

Ridley found that out the hard way last year, but he’s learned his lesson and may be back in the starting lineup this year.

26 responses to “Stevan Ridley has learned: Fumbles are the quickest way off the field

  1. “I told one of the young guys today, that’s the quickest way to get off the field,”

    Darn those 2 year age gaps! Old Man Ridley has spoken!

  2. It’s odd that he’s just now learning a lesson that happens to be one of the first things taught in Pop Warner ball. Long learning curve.

  3. What a shock that when you continually fail to perform your duties, you get warnings, a demotion, and then ultimately lose your job.

    As a running back I would tend to think carrying the football and blitz pickups are pretty important parts of the job. Running a route might also be rather important in the new passing attack oriented NFL. So yeah, forgetting how to do those “small things” repeatedly probably would impact your job status.

  4. Campcouch- I was thinking the same thing, Ridley has only been in the league for a couple years, but I guess football years are like dog years. I hope he gets the fumbling handled cuz I really like him as a runner. Vereen is definitely the more versatile back, hell, he even did well when he was split out as a WR, but Ridley runs with attitude. He’s got good moves and is elusive, but if there’s nothing there, he doesn’t screw around dancing in the back field, he goes north and south quick.

  5. A while back someone posted a story on Reddit about playing against Ridley in high school and how he’d help guys up and apologize after blowing them up on the field. He strikes me as a genuinely good guy and hard worker and I still have a lot of faith in him to tighten it up.

  6. Before we totally beat up on this guy, let’s not forget that bad habits in High School and College don’t have the dramatic immediate consequences they do in the NFL, because defenses at the top level are so much better, faster, etc….you can be great in college, and get away with bad habits like carrying the ball wrong, then when you get to the NFL, it looks like you don’t know what you’re doing….We always talk about “adjusting to the pro game”

  7. Dude has been labeled a fumbler somewhat unfairly. He has had some bad fumbles, but other guys on the Pats (ahem Lagarrette Blount) fumbled & they don’t get benched. This kid is far & away their most talented RB since Dillon. AP had 9 fumbles in his 2nd season. He didn’t get benched. Not saying he’s AP, he’s clearly not, but 3 fumbles & he’s benched for the season?

  8. Ed Bandell says:
    Jun 6, 2014 6:25 AM
    What a shock that when you continually fail to perform your duties, you get warnings, a demotion, and then ultimately lose your job.

    As a running back I would tend to think carrying the football and blitz pickups are pretty important parts of the job. Running a route might also be rather important in the new passing attack oriented NFL. So yeah, forgetting how to do those “small things” repeatedly probably would impact your job status.

    8 6
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    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    What about QB’s and INT’s then?

    Most running backs don’t fumble at near the rate of the QB’s who toss a lot of INT’s…

    The QB’s aren’t taken out of the game, benched, don’t start the rest of the year…

    A turnover is a turnover is a turnover.

    Your team has the ball and now the other team has the ball. It does NOT matter how it happens, just that it happens.

    Peyton and Romo and others have had games with 5 and 6 INT’s in the SAME game…

    yet they are OUT there still playing…

    so, coach is saying if you turn the ball over, you’re out. but if you over there turn it over, you get to stay in the game…

  9. Remember old school training camp where the fumbler had to carry the ball around 24/7 and anybody that walked by tried to punch it out?

  10. He was and I believe by far the most talented, superior runner that was on the Pats, personally I believe old Bill was too heavy handed in his approach. Case of cutting your nose to spite your face. I hope he has corrected his problems.

  11. I got queasy whenever they handed him the ball. Upside was a 3 yard gain, downside a fumble-TD. Why risk it? In my opinion they stuck with him way too long.

  12. Sportsfan18

    Oh yes they do, that is what benching a QB and then replacing him the next season is for. Heck, The Ravens went and replaced a Qb that took them to the superbowl & won it simply because they thought he just wasn’t the type of guy they needed to run a team.

    Kyle Boller got chance after chance because he was a top draft pick, but eventually he was replaced.

    It happens all the time. The reason why Qb’s usually don’t get replaced as quickly as RBS is simply the cost of the position and you usually don’t have two interchangeable QBs on the same roster.

  13. When you’re talented enough to play at the NFL level, you get away with bad habits in High School and College. Takes some guys a while to come to grips with that. He seems like he has learned, give him a chance.

  14. INT =/= fumbles.
    1. Very few moving parts in a fumble, many in interceptions (including WRs running the right routes and ‘check with mes’)
    2. The talent scale with respect to RBs and QBs. Would anyone really consider benching Peyton for say Painter after a 5 INT game? no.
    3. Think before you post “What about QB’s and INT’s then?” and stuff like that. if you didn’t think about the 2 easy ones above you didn’t think at all.

  15. One of his fumbles he was knocked out on the side lines and the ball stayd in…but …It was the timing of his fumbles that cost him. I wince we he gets the ball ….yet things change he could be a game changer when he is on

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