|Stevan Ridley is up and around just 15 days after surgery||12.03.14 at 2:37 pm ET|
Stevan Ridley recently underwent knee surgery after a season-ending injury in an October loss to Buffalo, but it looks like the running back is up and around. He posted this video to Instagram on Wednesday afternoon.
|5 thoughts on return of LeGarrette Blount, state of Patriots running game||11.21.14 at 12:12 am ET|
1. In stark contrast to the nasty words that were coming out of the Pittsburgh locker room in the wake of what happened with LeGarrette Blount over the last week, on Thursday, the vibe around the Patriots was all good when it came to the newest Patriot. Special teams captain Matthew Slater called him a “great teammate,” while fullback James Develin said it was “good” to have him back. Meanwhile, Jonas Gray — who likely will see his role shrink some with the addition of Blount — said he had no problem with the move, adding that the veteran is is a “great guy to learn from.” As for what sort of role awaits him, it’s likely he’ll split duties with Gray as the primary between-the-tackles back, as well as serve as some sort of insurance policy if the stage gets too big for the youngster, or if he puts the ball on the ground at some point. It’s also possible he sees time as a part-time kick returner — with the occasional exception of Danny Amendola, no one has really done much to distinguish themselves in the position. With his background last year, it certainly makes sense for the Patriots to give him a shot back there.
2. Few teams have seen the type of turnover at the running back position as New England. With the injury to Ridley, if form holds, the Patriots will have their sixth different back lead the team in rushing in 2014 over the last decade — only four other teams (Saints, Browns, Broncos and Cardinals) have had more. Corey Dillon (2004-2006), Laurence Maroney (2007, 2009), Sammy Morris (2008), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (2010-2011) and Stevan Ridley (2012-2013). And now, with Ridley on the shelf the rest of the year, this season it figures to be either Vereen, Gray or Blount. That could change again next year, as Brandon Bolden, Ridley and Shane Vereen are all in the final year of their contracts, while Blount, Gray and rookie James White are all under contract for 2015. (In addition, Tyler Gaffney, who was claimed by the Patriots this summer but is spending the year on injured reserve because of a knee issue, is still a possibility to be a part of the mix next season.) Regardless, even with all the changes, things could still change between now and the start of next season.
3. As forward thinking as the Patriots offense — and the passing game in particular — has been the last few years, there’s something impressively retro about what New England might be able to do this season. If we operate with the idea that a “running back by committee” includes a team with four backs with at least 40 carries, it appears that for the second straight season, the Patriots will attempt to be the first team to win a Super Bowl using the “running back by committee” approach since the 1987 Redskins, who won Super Bowl. Right now, the Patriots three different backs reach with at least 69 carries (Ridley with 94, Vereen with 70 and Gray with 69). While some of those numbers are borne out of necessarily since Ridley went down, if Blount is able to click down the stretch for New England — and it’s entirely possible he can hit the 40-carry mark, given his experience in the system — he would be a fourth. If the Patriots could take the title, it would represent the greatest cross-section of work for running backs for any Super Bowl champion since that Washington team emerged with a win in Super Bowl XXII. (Of course, that Redskins team could be discounted on a penalty, as that was a strike year and one of the backs was a scab who rushed 80 times in three strike games but never played another down. If you disqualify them on a technicality, them the last true RBBC team to win a Super Bowl in a non-strike year was the 1981 Niners, a team that had five different backs finish with 40 carries or more: Ricky Patton, Earl Cooper, Johnny Davis, Walt Easley and Paul Hofer.)
|Stevan Ridley sends message to Patriots fans as he starts rehab||10.21.14 at 5:54 pm ET|
Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, who suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month in a win over the Bills, sent out an Instagram message Tuesday afternoon to New England fans as he begins his rehab.
Understand a setback in any aspect of life is only a true test of faith. While doing the thing I love the most, at a pivotal point in my career, I've run across another situation where my faith is being tested. And by tested I mean the same God that brought me to this pivotal point, is making sure I still know why and where my blessings are coming from. So rather than sit around and try to understand this injury, I will use that time to reflect and appreciate the crazy amount of love that I have experienced in the past couple weeks. I will then take all this love and use it as fuel to get back to the plan God has for me. I truly love and thank my family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches, my fans, and all of Patriot Nation for all the love and support. #longliveKiDRiD
|Bill Belichick on Jonas Gray: ‘This is an opportunity for him’||10.17.14 at 10:46 am ET|
In wake of running back Stevan Ridley being lost for the season, the Patriots needed to add depth at the running back position.
Prior to Thursday’s game, the Patriots signed Jonas Gray off the practice squad and he was active for the game over rookie running back James White — who had been on the 53-man roster since training camp broke but only has appeared in one game.
“I think Jonas has been solid for us all the way through preseason,” Bill Belichick said on a conference call Friday. “He’s done a good job in practice. He got an opportunity last night — not a lot of opportunities, but he had some blitz pickup opportunities, had a few carries. He works hard, he’s a tough kid. [He’s a] bigger back obviously, more in the [Stevan] Ridley size range. He played for us in the kicking game as well. [We’ll] keep going with that. This is an opportunity for him. Unfortunate the way it came out, but he’s worked hard. He deserves it. We’ll see what he can do with it.”
Thursday was Gray’s first ever NFL game and he finished with 12 yards on three carries.
By our count Gray played only 11 snaps, but that was second among running backs as Shane Vereen played 47 and Brandon Bolden had just one. Moving forward it seems likely Belichick will ride the hot hand each week — based on performance, as well as game planning against their opponent.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Setting the scene: Patriots take on Jets at rain-soaked Gillette||10.16.14 at 5:26 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For the second straight year, the Patriots will play the Jets at Gillette Stadium on a rainy Thursday night. Steady rain with a chance of thunderstorms is in the forecast for the entirety of the game. But temperatures will be very mild, with a kickoff temperature of 64 degrees expected for the 8:25 p.m. start. Temperatures are expected to remain above 60 throughout the night.
A 7 MPH breeze out of the southeast is also in the forecast throughout the game.
In 2013, the Patriots held their home opener against the Jets on Sept. 12 and squeezed out a 13-10 win as the driving rain pelted players, coaches and fans.
The Patriots have won their last five regular season games against the Jets at Gillette Stadium, not including the 28-21 loss to New York in the 2010 playoffs. Overall, the Patriots have won 20 of the last 27 meetings between the two AFC East arch-rivals.
The Patriots will be playing the first game since losing starting linebacker Jerod Mayo and starting tailback Stevan Ridley to season-ending knee injuries. Both were placed on injured reserve. Taking their place are running back Jonas Gray and offensive lineman Chris Barker, who have been activated off the practice squad and are eligible to dress for the game.
Tom Brady enters the game with a perfect 6-0 record in Thursday night games. Bill Belichick is 7-2, with his last loss coming with Matt Cassel at the helm of a 34-31 overtime loss to the Jets on Nov. 13, 2008. Belichick’s only other Thursday loss was the 34-9 Thanksgiving blowout at the hands of the Detroit Lions in his first season in New England in 2000.
The game will also feature the Patriots paying tribute to Ty Law, the cornerback who was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame on Aug. 1. The halftime ceremony will be similar to the ones that former Patriots Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown have enjoyed past primetime games.
The national anthem will be performed by Joey McIntyre of “New Kids on the Block” fame. The game is on the NFL Network as well as CBS nationally. McIntyre stars in the new CBS show, “The McCarthys.”
|Patriots promote RB Jonas Gray, OL Chris Barker, place Stevan Ridley, Jerod Mayo on IR||at 4:32 pm ET|
FOXBORO — In a move that was expected, practice squad running back Jonas Gray has been promoted to fill the spot on injured running back Stevan Ridley for tonight’s game against the Jets.
Gray impressed the Patriots in training camp and the preseason with his tough physical running style. The second-year back out of Notre Dame played in all four preseason games this year, totaling 37 carries for 142 yards and a 3.8 yard per carry average.
The other injured Patriot from Sunday who is lost for the season, Jerod Mayo, will be replaced by offensive lineman Chris Barker. This move was made with the uncertainty with regard to center Bryan Stork and left guard Dan Connolly. Stork missed the last game in Buffalo with a head injury after leaving in the first half against the Bengals on Oct. 5. Connolly left in the first half last Sunday against the Bills, also with a head injury.
Both Ridley and Mayo were placed on season-ending injured reserve before the 4 p.m. deadline to have Gray and Barker activated. The moves were first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
‘ Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 16, 2014
‘ Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 16, 2014
|Patriots running backs prepared to fill void left in wake of Stevan Ridley’s season-ending injury||10.15.14 at 7:00 am ET|
FOXBORO — With Stevan Ridley reportedly lost for the year with a torn ACL and MCL, the Patriots have their work cut out for them to make up for his loss.
Of the Patriots’ 660 yards rushing this season, Ridley has accounted for 52 percent of them — 340 yards.
There is no question Shane Vereen will be a player who will likely step up with the loss of Ridley, but his style is more catching passes out of the backfield and only run on draw plays — not be a No. 1 back. Vereen hasn’t had a game this season with more than nine carries, but does have 18 catches for 114 yards.
New England will likely use all of their backs and ride the hot hand each week to make up for the loss of the fourth-year running back. Here is a look at the three other players and how they now view their roles:
Bolden has the most experience of the three as he has 126 career rushing attempts for 570 yards with five touchdowns, now in his third season in the league. While Bolden said he hasn’t been notified of a No. 1 back role, he feels he could be one if given the opportunity.
“Anybody in the league thinks that, but no, as of now I am here to do whatever the team asks me to do,” said Bolden.
Bolden has played a significant role on special teams this season — securing his spot on the game roster each week — but now, because of his experience, he may soon be playing a significant role in the running game rather than on special teams.