|NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: LSU DE Sam Montgomery||02.20.13 at 8:24 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Defensive end
Weight: 260 pounds
Achievements: 2012 AP All-America third team, 2012 Walter Camp All-America second team, 2011-12 Coaches’ All-SEC first team, 2011 FWAA All-American first team, 2010 Coaches’ Freshman All-SEC
What he brings: Montgomery entered the draft early after two standout seasons with one of the premiere defenses in college football. However, he’s not even the best defensive end prospect from LSU in this year’s draft, with former teammate Barkevious Mingo projected to come off the board within the first 15 selections.
The phrase ‘high motor’ is thrown around a lot when describing ‘Sonic’ Sam, who draws inspiration for his tenacity from the video game character Sonic the Hedgehog. Montgomery, who has experience rushing the passer from a standup position in addition to his work as a 4-3 end while at LSU, shows shows a lot of versatility in his game. Regardless of the team, it’s likely he can be plugged in early on without much concern for a glaring weakness in his game.
The main issue with Montgomery is that, while he’s a prime athletic specimen who excelled at the college level, the upside doesn’t appear to be there the same way it is with some of this draft’s more intriguing prospects.
Montgomery’s 17 sacks over his last two season at LSU certainly are a boon to his draft stock, but the big question for NFL scouts is how he got those sacks and whether or not his defensive skill set matches up well against NFL-level offensive linemen. Montgomery, who has a reputation as a very basic pass-rusher who has a long way to go in terms of developing an arsenal of pass-rush moves, must prove to NFL scouts that he can make the transition.
|Stevan Ridley: ‘I’m not trying to be Superman or anything over the top’||09.12.12 at 2:54 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Stevan Ridley apparently has studied very well at the Bill Belichick school of football humility.
Asked Wednesday about his career day of 125 yards on 21 carries and whether it’s going to be a habit this season, the second-year running back out of LSU was careful to praise the coaching staff that called his number and the linemen and receivers who blocked for him.
“Of course, coaches said something about it,” Ridley said of being prepared for the load he shouldered in the opener. “I didn’t know it was going to be 21 or whatever the carries were going to be. I just go in there and when they call No. 22, I have to go in there and make a play. I can’t predict the future on any of that. Nobody really knows what’s going on in the mind of Coach so I’m just out there playing my role and doing my job.
“That’s not my call. If it’s working and we’re doing a good job at it, I’m sure Coach is going to continue to call the plays. And that’s what he did this past Sunday. He puts us in a position to be successful and to go out there and win the ballgame. For me, I just do my job. I’m not trying to be Superman or anything over the top.”
Ridley was quick to praise the offensive line, which was particularly effective in opening large lanes in the middle as the Titans were trying to contain Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski off the edges.
“I think they did an exceptional job,” Ridley said. “They do a great job of protecting Brady, they did a great job in the run game. One hundred yards on the ground is not possible without an offensive line and some receivers that are blocking down field. It’s a team effort. It’s takes 11 of us across the board. I just did my job and pull my load but it took 10 other guys for me to get those 100 yards on the ground.”
Ridley, who is trying to prove he can be trusted with the ball in his arms this season, said Wednesday good ground production is a combination of preparation and determination.
“You can prepare so much but I think on the inside you have to have the heart at the end of the day,” Ridley said. “For me, I take every opportunity that I get. And I just try to make the most out of it. The “Patriot Way” is we’re always going to be prepared as long as coach Belichick is the coach here. He wants to win. That’s the goal we’re shooting for at the end of the day.
“It takes a great bit of both. I’d tell you it’s 50-50 but at the end of the day, you’re just trying to go out and get that ‘W’.”
One more thing, Ridley clearly doesn’t want to wind up on Belichick’s bulletin board of misguided or ill-timed quotes.
“I wasn’t perfect by any means,” he added. “There was a lot of yards left out on the field. That’s something that we’re trying to work together as an offensive group to get better this week. We got off to a start and that was a start and we have to build on that. If you get satisfied or complacent with where you’re at, you’re not going to last too long or you’re not going to have the career that you really want to have. I’m never satisfied and we’re going to continue to work just the way we are today.”
|NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: LSU WR Rueben Randle||03.09.12 at 6:35 pm ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2012 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 208 pounds
Achievements: Coaches All-SEC first team (2011), AP All-SEC second team (2011)
What he brings: Randle, the former No. 1 wideout recruit coming out of high school, brings solid hands and prototypical size to the receiver position, coming in with a near-identical frame to Pats fans’ gold standard for deep threats: Randy Moss. Although he isn’t the pure burner like Baylor’s Kendall Wright, Randle is a more explosive route runner than the draft’s other big targets, such as South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery.
Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1 or 2
Notes: During his final season as a true junior, Randle functioned mostly as a deep threat in LSU’s limited passing offense. With 53 receptions for 917 yards, Randle has shown his prowess as a deep threat, which should appease most Patriots fans. But whether Randle’s capacity as an underneath receiver is limited or was underutilized with the Tigers remains to be seen.
Randle was last seen compiling 13 of the Tigers’ combined 53 yards through the air in a 21-0 shutout loss to Alabama in the national championship game. Working with Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels could prove to be the key to unlocking his potential. However, the last time the Patriots took a flier on a receiver coming from a run-heavy offense was the 2010 third-round selection of Taylor Price, who was cut late last season.
Randle, who was initially graded as a second-round pick, has seen his stock rise as of late, going No. 30 to the 49ers in Mel Kiper Jr.‘s most recent mock draft. However, with the combine and workouts still down the line, Randle’s final stock is still up in the air.
Video: Here’s Randle against Arkansas, racking up career highs in catches (9) and receiving yards (134).
|Rob Gronkowski and Stevan Ridley agree: Denver’s more than just Tim Tebow||01.10.12 at 2:15 pm ET|
“He’s on offense and I’m on offense, so I’m not really going versus him,” Gronkowski said Tuesday. “I’m worried about the Denver defense. that’s all I’m focused about, getting better, doing my own job and not worrying about anyone else, especially on their offensive side. Just starting up on their defensive side, trying to get better so I’m prepared come Saturday night.
“You have to watch film on them. They’re great players. They’re both outstanding players, especially Von Miller, just being a rookie, doing what he’s doing. You have to be ready, watch film on them, not just their defensive ends but their whole defense. They’re all good, they’re all fast and we have to learn what they can do so we’re prepared when it comes down to game time.”
Then there’s Stevan Ridley, who was still healing his wounds from his alma mater getting spanked 21-0 Monday night by Bama in the BCS title game. Asked if it helps that every game seems do-or-die during the week, Ridley said with a smile it doesn’t hurt.
‘I know to coach Bill, every game is serious, playoff, regular season, preseason, it’s that game,” Ridley said. “We’re going to take it one game at a time and put all our emphasis into that. This week we’re focusing on Denver and whatever we have to do to win, that’s what we’re going to go out and do.
‘It’s another game. You know coach Bill, he puts so much emphasis on each week. We don’t look ahead or behind, we’re looking at that upcoming game so it’s another game to us. That’s how we’re treating it. It’s going to be a playoff atmosphere and it’s going to be a big-time game. But we’re going to just go out there and play football and stay calm and try to play a sound football game.’
What were Ridley’s thoughts on the the Broncos and Tebow last Sunday?
‘They came to play, Tebow came to be play, their team came to play and they want to win just like every other team,” Ridley added. “It’s a nice story being written about Tebow. He’s a player, he’s a quarterback, he’s a winner. I don’t care what they say, the guy wins. We’re going to have to come in here and play solid football if we want to win this game.
‘Their defense is solid. They’ve been doing good things for them. I think that’s what they really don’t talk about that much. It’s a lot about Tebow but not so much about their defense. But they’re really playing solid football all the way around, in all three phases.’
Both Gronkowski and Ridley admit they can’t stop Tebow but they can play a role in helping to protect Tom Brady. It was Brady who was “de-cleated” when Elvis Dumervil came in unblocked in the fourth quarter on Dec. 18 and drilled Brady in the ribs, lifting him off the ground and driving him to the turf for a loud and thunderous sack.
|What’s a little snow? A lot to Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen||10.29.11 at 4:28 pm ET|
FOXBORO — In New England, a little snow in late October isn’t that big a deal. Heck, The Patriots have even played in a snowy October Nor’easter at Gillette as recently as 2009.
Remember when the Patriots annihilated the Titans, 59-0, on Oct. 18 that year? It started off as driving rain in the morning before turning into heavy, wet, accumulating snow just around kick-off for the 4:15 p.m game.
But when you haven’t seen – let alone played in – snow, then the white stuff can take some getting used to.
When Shane Vereen played his college football at Cal, he had never really seen the snow, even when playing all those times in Pullman, Washington or either Oregon school. The only time he ever had to deal with it was on a trip to go snowboarding.
When he got up Friday morning, he noticed what was on the ground.
It new, very new. It had never happened to me before. The only time I’ve ever been in the snow was when I was snowboarding. So, it was a new experience.
That new experience came with some advice from a veteran of New England football winters – Kevin Faulk.
“‘Drive slow and be careful,’ he said,” Vereen said of the advice from No. 33, who was activated off PUP on Saturday. “That’s basically the main thing I was worried about, too, the whole driving thing.”
Then there was fellow rookie running back Stevan Ridley, who grew up in Mississippi, played at LSU just like Faulk. But it was BenJarvus Green-Ellis, another running back from Mississippi, that provided him shelter and comfort on Thursday night.
‘I knew I was in for a long morning,’ Ridley said. ‘I woke up [Friday] morning and had snow all over my car and I made it through, got to practice on time, and I’m thinking I’m adjusting all right.’
It was suggested to Ridley that perhaps it’s “nice” that he and others are getting their first taste of snow during the week in practice.
‘I don’t know about nice, it’s still cold to me,’ said Ridley. ‘I know it’s nice to y’all, but it’s cold to me. It’s going to be an adjustment.’
For what it’s worth, the only snow expected in Pittsburgh by 4:15 kick-off Sunday will be on the sidelines in the form of snow banks, when the grounds crew clears the field from Saturday’s storm.
|Is Stevan Ridley ready for a break-out?||09.27.11 at 6:14 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Going into last weekend’s game in Western New York, there were those who figured the Patriots were due for a break-out game in their rushing attack. And those same prognosticators figured it would be BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the loose in the teeth of the Bills defense.
The rushing attack was on display on just 26 snaps and it wasn’t Green-Ellis leading the way but rather an LSU product by the name of Stevan Ridley. Green-Ellis looked sluggish at the goal line and in short yardage so the Pats tried Ridley. They liked what they saw.
The rookie, who scored three times in the preseason rout of the Jaguars, rushed the ball seven times and gained 44 yards for a very healthy clip of 6.3 yards per carry, including a 16-yard scamper right between the tackles in the fourth quarter. He even caught one pass for eight yards. How much did the Patriots trust him? Five of his seven carries came in fourth-quarter pressure situations.
It would appear by those eight touches, the Patriots and O’Brien feel the rookie is learning the system at a fairly healthy clip.
“Last week was basically the first game that he had played a decent amount [in],” O’Brien said Tuesday. “He’s got a long way to go, just like any rookie, as it relates to the overall scheme and knowing what to do and things like that. I think that whole position has been good for us this year and productive. He’ll be another guy that we add into the mix there. Again, he’s got to improve in a lot of areas and he is a hard working guy. He’s his own guy; I wouldn’t compare him to anybody.”
Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio liked what he saw from the moment he saw him play for Les Miles at LSU in Baton Rouge.
“He was a productive back against a good level of competition,” Caserio said of the back who faced SEC competition week-in and week-out. “He made the most of his opportunities on Sunday ‘ like a lot of players have. I think the most important thing is week-to-week try to improve on your performance from the previous week and develop a level of consistency ‘ whether it is Ridley or whether it is really any other player on this team. I think that’s really the most important thing ‘ to learn from last week and move forward and figure out how you can improve and how you can help the team in whatever capacity that may be.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Is Stevan Ridley the Kevin Faulk in-waiting? The answer lies in ‘backyard football’||08.05.11 at 7:01 pm ET|
FOXBORO — At first glance, the comparisons between Kevin Faulk and Stevan Ridley appear obvious. Both running backs hail from Louisiana State and were stars for the SEC powerhouse. And both backs – despite being south of six feet tall – are powerful runners in their own style.
But that’s where the comparisons end – for now.
Faulk is entering the 13th year of his NFL career – all with the Patriots – while Ridley is trying to make a name for himself as a north-south runner in his rookie camp. Ridley needs to work on his pass-catching game and his pass-blocking while Faulk is considered one of the best in the league at picking up a blitz, shedding a blocker and opening up quickly as a safety valve for Tom Brady.
While his fellow rookie back Shane Vereen left with an apparent leg injury last weekend, Ridley is already showing glimpses in camp that he can make NFL tacklers miss. Ridley ran off left tackle Friday afternoon before cutting back sharply and heading up field in the guard-tackle gap, a north-south move he was known for with the Tigers.
In addition to watching Faulk on the field, Ridley can learn a lot by listening to how Brady raves about Faulk, who was lost to a torn right ACL in Week 2 last year against the Jets.
“Kevin is an incredible player, person, teammate, friend,” Brady said on Friday. “He’s one of the greatest running backs I’ve ever played with. He’s everything you look for in a player, so to get him back is huge for this team. His leadership ability, his work ethic ‘ he wants to be out here.
“He worked so hard to come back from his knee injury, which certainly is not an easy thing to. It’s a tough injury. He works harder than anybody. It will be fun when he gets out here playing with us. I know he’s bored as can be, sitting in there, not being able to do what he really wants to be able do.”
Ridley – at 5-feet-11 and 225 pounds – ran for over 1100 yards and scored 15 TD’s during his final season last year with the Bayou Bengals. Faulk has 16 rushing touchdowns, 15 receiving, and two scores on kickoff returns in his career with the Pats.
“I try not to think about it,” Ridley said this week. “I just like to go out there and play ‘backyard football’ and just do what I do best, and that’s go out there be a football player. But once you get to this level, you have to take in the knowledge and you have to study and put in the extra hours and that’s what I’m trying to do, and learn from those guys who’ve been in here 12 and 13 years. They’ve been in here for a reason because they do those things well. I’m going to learn from the leaders I have in my room and try to get a little from the running backs also.” Read the rest of this entry »