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Patriots

Howe On Toucher & Rich: Is Ridley The Next Corey Dillon?

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Patriots running back Stevan Ridley breaks a run against the Tennessee Titans. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Patriots running back Stevan Ridley breaks a run against the Tennessee Titans. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

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New England Patriots

The Patriots opened up their regular season with a 34-13 road win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon. Tom Brady completed 23 of 31 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

Jeff Howe, who covers the Patriots for the Boston Herald, joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Monday morning to discuss the win, running back Stevan Ridley,  and Dan Connolly’s injury — among the many other things to come out of Sunday’s win.

Ridley racked up 125 rushing yards and a touchdown, and looks to be handling the premiere running back role very well. Are we getting ahead of ourselves or are we looking at a guy that could take us back to the times of Corey Dillon?

“I would say calling him Corey Dillon would be getting ahead of it a little bit, and he’s not going to get 150 yards in scrimmage every week out there,” said Howe. “I think what you saw were the flashes or the elongated flashes that we’ve been seeing over the past year-plus with him in practice and then bits and pieces in other games.”

The Pats used tight end Aaron Hernandez in almost every way they could think of; receiver, fullback and running back. What kind of problem does this present for an opposing defense?

“He is really going to be one of the big candidates to break out this year league-wide because Gronkowski got so much of that attention last year,” said Howe. “They can use him all over the place because he’s so athletic that he can basically do whatever they need him to.”

One negative thing to come out of Sunday’s win was the injury to Dan Connolly. The right guard left the field with a head injury late in the third quarter and did not return, but all reports are that he passed all the concussion tests and will be fine. What is Howe hearing about Connolly?

“It’s never a good thing when you hear of a second concussion, at least that we know of. He missed a couple games in 2010 and, look I don’t know definitively whether it was a concussion, but I haven’t heard of a head injury that wasn’t a concussion.”

They also discussed Logan Mankins apparently playing with a torn ACL all last season. Could he really have done that and could the Patriots get in trouble for not listing him on injury reports?

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