FOXBORO — One of the highlights of media availability in the last week has been the Patriots working on ball security, especially Stevan Ridley. Bill Belichick  has had Ridley carry a ball in each hand with a defender on each side trying to pry the ball loose. He has been the only Patriot spotted with such focus on taking care of the ball.
Of course, there’s good reason for that. There were the two fumbles at the end of the 2011 season, including in the divisional rout over the Broncos . Then there were the two fumbles in back-to-back games this season against the Texans and the 49ers . His fumble on the first drive of the game against Houston could’ve been costly but Aaron Hernandez  raced over and recovered it before the Texans could pounce. He wasn’t as lucky the next week against the 49ers. He hasn’t fumbled since in 38 carries.
“Can’t have it, can’t have it,” Ridley said Friday. “It’s crunch time, man. And turnovers, however they come — fumbles, interceptions, drops, whatever — we can’t have that.”
Then, he turned the focus on himself.
“I don’t want to be that guy that they’re pointing the finger at, and saying, ‘My bad.’ I’m trying to play solid football and play perfect football,” he said.
Of course, if Ridley and the Patriots are going to have offensive success against the Texans Sunday, they need to replicate what they did to J.J. Watt the last time, when they held the All-Pro without a sack or a tackle for a loss.
“He’s a playmaker,” Ridley said. “For us, whether it’s in the backfield, catching him on the way out, running routes, whatever we have to do, we have to get away from him, put two hats on him, make sure he’s blocked, make sure he’s covered up because he’s the leader of their defense. If he get momentum, we’re going to have trouble all night.”
Ridley was then asked about Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips  and the suggestion that Wes Welker  is not the “physical” receiver that A.J. Green is and may not require Johnathan Joseph  to cover him.
“I have no idea that he said anything about that but Wes Welker is a very important part of our offense,” Ridley said laughing. “We need everybody we can get, and that’s somebody who’s been on the field for the Patriots for a long time, somebody we depend on in crunch situations so I don’t know about his size or whatever that is but Wes gets the job done and I’ll be looking be looking for ’83’ on Sunday.”