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BOSTON (CBS) – The Patriots don’t play until January 13, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be busy.
“A little bit of work and a little bit of rest; we have a bye week but there isn’t going to be much off time around here,” Patriots running back Stevan Ridley said from the team’s locker room on Monday. “We’re going to keep trying to roll through. No game on Sunday, but we’re going to be putting in our hours getting it in.”
After having team meetings on Monday, the Patriots will have Tuesday off. They will be back on the practice field on Wednesday and Thursday, leading up to a three-day weekend — one of the prizes for earning the first-round bye.
Ridley was pleased with the team’s performance in their 28-0 win over the Dolphins in the regular season finale, and their 12-4 season overall, but he knows there is plenty of work to be done leading up to their divisional round game in two weeks.
“We’re going to keep working; we can’t get settled,” he said. “We’re going to play a great team whoever we play. We’ve got to be hard at work in the process. That’s how we do it around here.”
“It’s a great feeling when your offense is clicking. It was clicking on the ground, clicking through the air – we had things going,” he said of Sunday’s win. “That only comes through hard work and preparation throughout the week, and that’s what we did. For us coming up this week, that’s what we have to do. We have to rest our bodies, but prepare for whoever we have to play.”
There are three potential opponents for the January 13th matchup at Gillette: the Texans, Colts and Ravens. All three are teams the Patriots played this season, which Ridley thinks will be an advantage when it comes to their preparation next week.
“The more film that we have on whoever we play, the better,” she said. “[Our coaches are] going to look at it and put us in a position to go out there and be successful, and we have to execute.”
Ridley won’t be watching this weekend’s Wild Card matchups though. Instead, he’ll take his weekend off to go hunting down South. But come Monday, he will be ready to get back to work preparing for whoever will come to Gillette the following weekend.
But before they can watch film on their next opponent — or go hunting — the Patriots will take a look at themselves. Ridley had a very strong season, rushing for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns, but knows his four fumbles this season will come up as the Patriots do some self-evaluation.
“He’s going to have something to say, but if he didn’t it wouldn’t be coach,” Ridley said of Bill Belichick.
“We’re trying to play perfect football, and that’s impossible, of course,” Ridley added. “But when you make a mistake, you best believe that this is one place that it’s not going to slide. He’s going to mention it. He’s going to try to critique it, correct it, and we’ll move forward.”