BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley found himself on the bench Sunday afternoon in Buffalo after struggling to hold onto the football.
While he may have lost the confidence of his head coach for that afternoon, Ridley’s quarterback is ready for him to make a big impact Thursday night when the Patriots host the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium.
“We’re all pretty positive with one another. We never like to see each other mistakes, but they happen,” Tom Brady said Tuesday morning, noting Ridley wasn’t the only one to make a mistake in the 23-21 season-opening win. “We fumbled on the goal line, I threw an interception. You have to be able to bounce back from those things. Football isn’t always perfect. You just want to limit your bad plays so they’re not really bad plays.”
“I know Stevan is a very mentally tough kid,” he said of his running back, who ran for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. “I love having him back there and I love giving him the ball and watching him run. He’s done a great job with that since he got here.”
Ridley has six fumbles over his three-year career, losing three of them. He has been benched by head coach Bill Belichick before for his inability to hold onto the football, but took full responsibility after Sunday’s win and vowed to improve.
Brady still has plenty of confidence in Ridley, adding that mental mistakes on the field are much worse than the physical ones.
“The mental mistakes are the things you get frustrated with, because those are totally in your contract. The physical mistakes you don’t want to happen, but they’re going to happen; you’re not going to make every jump shot,” said Brady. “But you have to be in the right spot doing the right thing with the right amount of effort. You have to play smart, play disciplined and then limit your physical mistakes. It’s no use screaming at someone. We know what we have to do; we just have to do a better job at it.”
Ridley should get plenty of run Thursday night, with Shane Vereen being placed on the IR on Tuesday with a broken bone in his wrist.