New England Patriots feature back Stevan Ridley is gearing up for another big year as the Patriots bellcow back, and he actually came into training camp jacked after adding a huge amount of muscle in order to absorb more hits and take more carries. Ridley had 290 regular season carries last season, but the Patriots didn’t want Ridley to lose too much speed and quickness by taking on all that muscle, so he had to work it back off again.
Ridley is one tough back, and his quote yesterday on playing through injuries was an excellent one, via Mass Live.com’s Nick Underhill, “I hate coming off. Unless it’s major, unless I have a leg that’s hanging off, I’m gonna be out there. That’s just kind of my style and how I do it.”
That is dedication at its finest, and Ridley looks poised for an even more efficient year than the 4.4 yards per carry he posted last season. The offensive line in front of him could be even better if Marcus Cannon starts and Dan Connolly assumes the role of the super utility backup, and Ridley’s own gained experience of starting for a year will also help him. Ridley has the ability to gash a defense inside or burn them a bit to the outside, and his pure rushing ability more than makes up for a few fumbles too many. Those ball security issues are often exaggerated, but what traits aren’t exaggerated are his toughness, workhorse mentality, and overall rushing ability.