|Bill Belichick on Stevan Ridley: ‘I thought he ran hard’||09.10.12 at 6:11 pm ET|
FOXBORO — On Sunday, Bill Belichick watched Stevan Ridley run the ball 21 times for 125 yards and get rewarded with a one-yard TD run. On Monday, Belichick watched the film and it confirmed what he saw from the sidelines.
“I thought he ran hard, he had some good runs,” Belichick said of Ridley, who had a 17-yard run for his longest of the day. “He had some other runs that we’ve talked about that could have been better. I thought he finished runs, he ran hard, broke a couple tackles in the secondary. Overall, we just need to be more consistent with the running game.
“I think we still left some yards out on the field, plenty of them, for one reason or another, combination of everything. Just keep trying to improve that, but there were some good plays to the outside, we were able to get outside, get to the off-tackle, outside areas. Stevan made some yards after contact and in a couple cases, he made secondary players miss around the line of scrimmage and got some extra yardage.”
Tom Brady emphasized after the win how important a strong running game was to a tough, physical team and thought Ridley established that. Belichick agreed, adding there are still some areas where Ridley can improve even more. In 2006, Laurence Maroney had a breakout game against the Bengals on Monday night football in Cincinnati when he ran for 125 yards on 15 carries. It was his only 100-yard game of the season and he reached the century mark just six more times in his career, which ended in 2010.
So, what’s the key to consistency and not leaving “yards on the field”?
“A combination of things,” Belichick said. “Running game involves a lot in terms of footwork, technique, setting up blocks, reading the hole properly – any of those things can put the linemen at a disadvantage or not take advantage of an opportunity that’s there.”
Of course, at the end of last season, Ridley was benched in the AFC Championship and Super Bowl after fumbling in the Denver playoff game.
Belichick was asked Monday if he has stressed that this year to Ridley.
“We stress it every week,” Belichick said. “I’ve never not stressed it since I’ve coached. It’ll always be stressed; that will never be not stressed.
“With everybody specifically, doesn’t matter – anybody that touches the ball. Anybody that touches the ball, there’s nothing more important than possession of the ball. Anybody that handles it, that’s their number one job – take care of it.”
The rest of Belichick presser from Monday touched on a number of things – Tom Brady’s nose, Dan Connolly, who appeared to get injured blocking for Ridley’s TD run in the third quarter, and Marcus Cannon debuting at right guard midway through the game.
Here is Belichick’s transcript, courtesy of Patriots media relations.
BB: Like I said yesterday after the game, I thought the players really did a good job yesterday. The players deserve all the credit for the outcome of the game. I thought we played physically for 60 minutes and made plays in all three phases of the game. We scored 27 points offensively, which is OK; didn’t turn the ball over. Defensively we had a solid day. On special teams we had real good field position; defensively we played on a long field and we had a few short field opportunities between the defense and special teams, so those things were good. We didn’t turn the ball over, had a couple, and didn’t have a lot of penalties. The Titans threw a lot of things at us that were new, like you always see on opening day; pretty typical of an opener. Again, I thought the players did a good job adjusting to them and playing through some situations in the game. I thought they handled themselves well. We have a long way to go, we certainly left a lot of plays out there on the field that could have been better, we could have made more out of, or were opportunities for us to gain more yards or give up fewer or turn the ball over, that type of thing. We’ll try to correct those today and turn the page and get onto Arizona. It’s good to win; it’s good to be 1-0, but we have a long way to go. Hopefully we can continue to improve this week – this is a big week for us.
Q: What were your impressions on how Marcus Cannon did yesterday?
BB: It was alright. I thought overall our offensive line did a decent job; not perfect, certainly a lot of things we can work on. I thought overall he held up OK. Marcus and Sebastian [Vollmer] split those reps at tackle pretty evenly. They both played that spot, they both were OK. Couple things could have been better but overall it wasn’t a big problem area or anything.
Q: We saw Marcus Cannon switch to guard later in the game, was that an experimentation thing or a bodies thing?
BB: The more things we can do, the more things a player can play, the better it is. We had an opportunity at the end of the game to get a few snaps for some of our younger guys who were in there. Lex [Hilliard] was in there, Mike [Rivera] was in there, Marcus at guard. It was no big strategy thing or anything.
Q: Any update on Dan Connolly?
Q: You talked about conditioning a lot this preseason. How did you think the team held up? It wasn’t all that hot yesterday.
BB: I think probably both teams caught a break on that temperature-wise. I thought overall we were OK. We had some no-huddle sequences and seemed to be alright. Of course at the half, Tennessee was in a two-minute mode and then at the end of the game before that last series, kind of the same thing there. We got a little bit of that up-tempo on both sides of the ball which is probably good for us; tested us a little bit but it seemed like we held up OK. We didn’t seem to have a lot of guys on the sideline that were passed under the oxygen tank or anything like that. We could easily get a lot more heat than we had. Probably the humidity down in Tampa and the practice that we had there and the game, I’m sure that helped build our overall conditioning. We’ve been out here every day, we’ve been working at it and running, doing extra running, doing our no-huddle drills and those kinds of things in practice so hopefully that’s built it up over the preseason, I hope so anyway. I could certainly see a hotter day than this coming in the next month or so.
Q: How impressive was it how Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower picked things up mentally to play extended minutes and do the right things?
BB: I’d say that Dont’a has a lot of responsibility at his position, relative to formations and adjustments, pass coverage, run responsibilities and all that. He did a lot of those things at Alabama and played a couple different spots at Alabama in their defense, which has some similarities to what we do. I think he was very well-coached and schooled when he got here. He’s a smart guy. He’s picking things up pretty well. Chandler, less experienced but probably less variables at his position, although there are still plenty of them, but probably not to the degree that Dont’a has a regular and nickel linebacker and all those kind of things. Both players have done a reasonably good job of that. They’re both smart, they’ve worked hard and they’ve both been out there. They’ve both gotten a lot of reps on the field. That’s always good way to learn, is to experience it and go through it, make a mistake, correct it, go out there, do it again and get it right. There’s a lot to be said for that and those guys, really a lot of our young players have had an opportunity to do that – they’ve been on the field, they’ve practiced, they’ve made mistakes, they’ve gone back out and done them right the next time and been able to move onto something else. That’s been a positive. Those two guys, they’ve done a good job.
Q: You used some different pairings at safety. Is there anything that Tavon Wilson and Steve Gregory bring differently than what Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory would bring?
BB: I think our players, all those players, have different strengths and weaknesses. They’ve all been productive for us. We have confidence in all of them.
Q: Any reason you chose to go with those groupings?
BB: Different packages, guys were playing different positions based on the defensive personnel grouping we were in. They rotated at times. Chung hasn’t played in a couple weeks. It was nothing specific. We have confidence in all of them so whoever is out there, is out there.
Q: You seem to be confident with Tavon Wilson close to the line of scrimmage. What does he bring as he gets closer to the line of scrimmage?
BB: He’s got good size, he’s a physical player, he runs well, I think he’ll mix it up in the running game and can blitz; can do those types of things. He’s done a decent job for us at that. He’s still learning. It’s kind of a new position for him but he’s picked it up okay. We’ll see how it goes.
Q: How do Wes Welker and Julian Edelman complement each other at the wide receiver spot?
BB: I think both guys are quick, they can run after the catch, make yards with the ball in their hands, both smart guys, have some position flexibility; play different spots. I think Wes is more experienced but Julian is in his fourth year so he has plenty of experience too. I think they both do a good job.
Q: Are there things that Julian does differently than what Wes brings?
BB: Every player has his own strengths and weaknesses but I think they’re both good players who we’re comfortable with either guy in the game doing whatever we ask them to do. They run different types of routes and line up different places but they can do what they need to do.
Q: Did you get a chance to look at Tom Brady’s nose today? Did it look any different?
BB: It looks all right.
Q: Do you know if it’s broken?
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