FOXBORO (CBS) — If you’re Danny Amendola, you’re going to face questions about injuries. If you’re Tom Brady, you’re going to face questions about being perfect. And if you’re Stevan Ridley, you’re going to face questions about fumbling.
It’s become an undeniable part of Ridley’s game, as he’s coughed up the football eight times in the past two years, plus another one in the playoffs.
The running back’s struggles with ball security have led to long stretches on the sideline, but his confidence this year appears to be in top shape.
“All you can do is really squeeze it high and tight. I can’t really sit on it too much,” Ridley said after Thursday’s OTA. “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? You never know what’s in plan or what God has in store for you, but a little adversity never hurts anybody. So for me, I have to go out there and be the player that I am. So in practice, I told one of the young guys today, that’s the quickest way to get off the field — you can ask me first — putting the ball on the ground.
“You take your mistakes, you learn from them and you grow, and you just keep on pushing it.”
Those mistakes played a big factor in Ridley following up his 1,263-yard, 12-touchdown season in 2012 with just 773 yards and seven touchdowns last year. That’s just a part of why Ridley is working most on improving his focus this offseason.
“My focus. My focus on the small things. I think if I can do that, I can become a better player for this team,” Ridley said. “I think when you lose focus of all the small things — whether it’s on the field with small assignments, whether it’s carrying the football, whether it’s running a route, whether it’s blitz pickup — those are things that cost you your playing time. Those are the things that cause mistakes, so you have to be zoned in. It’s almost like you’re going back to school again, being zoned in and listening to every detail the coach gives you and be on the same page with Brady out there. That helps our offense go.”
Ridley, 25, answered in the affirmative when asked if he’s his own biggest critic.
“Absolutely. With how I’ve gotten here, you can’t be satisfied,” he said. “What my dad always tells me is you’re never as good as you think you are and you’re never as bad as they say you are. You’ve just got to keep grinding, man. That’s how I live my life, just to come in here and work hard every single day.
“As a player, never be satisfied. You have to stress yourself to go in there and make sure that you’re better than you were the day before,” he also said. You have to eat right, you have to put the right things in your body. You have to come in here and train hard. The coaches are never satisfied right now. Your team’s still trying to mold and become a high-caliber team, because this is the National Football League, and everybody has the same amount of days, but what are you going to do with those days to put you ahead of your competition? That’s one thing that Coach Belichick stresses to us. It’s not going to be handed to us. We’re going to have to come in here and work for everything we get, and that’s what we do. We work hard around here — it’s the Patriot Way.”
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