Posted November 02, 2012 on
AP on Fox
(Eds: Corrects alma mater to LSU. With AP Photos.) By MATTHEW CARROLL Associated Press Stevan Ridley will be on the sidelines this weekend, just not in uniform.
While many players around the NFL escape football during the bye week, New England's second-year running back wants no part of that. Ridley is heading to Louisiana to watch his former high school play on Friday before attending his alma mater's biggest clash of the season a day later.
''I'll be down in Baton Rouge, watching the LSU-'Bama game, of course,'' he said of his fifth-ranked Tigers and their showdown against No. 1 Alabama on Saturday. ''It's funny how you get some time away and I'm going to watch another football game.
''So, I'm leaving football to go to football. Hey, it's my life.''
And with good reason.
At the midway point of the Patriots' season, the back is developing into one of the league's best, leading the AFC with 716 yards rushing, good enough for fourth in the NFL. He has 57 more yards than Houston's Arian Foster, who led the league in 2010 but has played in one less game than Ridley this season.
When he entered the league as the 73rd pick last year, the idea that he'd be ahead of Foster and a slew of other All-Pro backs halfway through his sophomore season wasn't a thought.
''I just go out there and run the football,'' he said, ''and I look up right now . leading the AFC in rushing? It's a dream come true for me.''
The same could be said for the Patriots (5-3).
Led by quarterback Tom Brady, one of the most potent and pass-happy offenses in the league over the past five years has adopted a more balanced attack behind Ridley's straight-ahead running.
With 150 carries through the first eight games, fifth most in the league, Ridley is on pace to become the first New England running back with at least 300 since Corey Dillon notched 345 in 2004. In fact, only BenJarvus Green-Ellis (2010) and Dillon (2004, 2005) have eclipsed 200 carries for the Patriots in the last nine years.
''He's very passionate about the game. Stevan loves to play. I think that's his biggest asset,'' New England running backs coach Ivan Fears said. ''On game day, he is there. He is mentally in the right frame of mind to play the game and I think as long as he's got that kind of passion for the game, he's going to do the little things that he needs to do to be physically ready to play.
''He's figuring out how to be a professional athlete, he's figuring out what it takes to win on Sunday. That's what you like about him.''
After carrying the ball just 87 times for 441 yards during his rookie campaign, Ridley this season has made some serious strides, exhibiting the intangibles required to thrive at this level.
His power, speed and elusiveness all have been on display at one time or another during an array of dazzling runs, including a league-leading 47 for first downs, five that have gone for 20 or more yards and five that resulted in touchdowns.
''I've got a lot of work to do in front of me,'' he said. ''I'm looking forward to the next eight (games) that we have.''
Patriots coach Bill Belichick thinks so, too.
''I think he's done some good things. I think there's certainly a lot of things that he can improve on,'' he said. ''There's been times where he's had really good blocking. There's times where he's produced yards on his own. There's a lot of things that he can work on. He's still a young, improving player.''
So far, so good, though. And his body seems to be holding up well to the rigors of being the primary back.
''I'm still playing football and still on the field. As long as I'm not missing any playing time, it's 100 percent,'' the 23-year-old said. ''Like I said, I'm just thankful to be healthy and thankful to be in my position in where I am. Got a little bit of football left to play, hopefully I can be healthy all the way until the end.''
The Patriots certainly hope so.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
FOXBORO, Mass. -- Brandon Spikes turned 25 just before the
start of the regular season, which actually makes him one of the more senior
players on the Patriots defense. But even at his "old age," in the
locker room at least, Spikes says he feels like a teenager again.
"Honestly, this is the best I've ever felt in my life.
I feel like I'...
Tampa, FL- Aqib Talib’s rollercoaster ride in Tampa Bay is over. After 4 1/2 eventful years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave up on the potentially talented cornerback and shipped him to the New England Patriots as the trade deadline expired on Thursday.
Please Click Here To Read This Story
A Nebraska assault trial for New England Patriots rookie Alfonzo Dennard has been delayed again.
Online court records say that on Thursday a Lincoln judge granted Dennards request to move the trial to the February 2013 jury term.
Dennard was granted a delay in July that would have put off the trial to at least next month.
Hes pleaded not guilty to a felony assault charge...
In an unexpected move, the New England Patriots released cornerback Sterling Moore Wednesday evening.
The team also signed defensive back Derrick Martin and linebacker Mike Rivera. New England had an open roster spot after parting ways with linebacker Bobby Carpenter.
Moore, a second-year player, served predominately in a reserve role and appeared in all eight games. Last year...
The Patriots have a lot of work to do during their bye week. But first things first -- they need to get healthy. That should be the team's focus this week, according to Mike Lombardi, despite the team's other concerns on the field.
Lombardi joined The Dennis and Callahan Show on WEEI on Friday morning, and was asked what Bill Belichick should be honing...
New England Patriots trade for Buccaneers’ Aqib Talib
The good old Pats are at it again, zigging when everyone thought they’d zag by actually making a trade at the deadline for cornerback Aqub Talib. Talib is currently suspended for Adderall but is eligible to return next week.
There’s no question he could be useful in the Patriots secondary, especially if they’d like to...
A.B. Meet the newest member of the New England Patriots, Aqib Talib. The 20th overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft can definitely get his groove on but can he stay out of trouble? Here’s a look at some of his troubled past:
July 2008 – fistfight with Buc’s teammate Cory Boyd.
August 2009 – battered a Florida taxi driver and was arrested for simple battery.
March 2011 – aggravated...
Stevan Ridley has been a pleasant surprise for Pats fans this season, as he is on pace to eclipse 1,400 yards by season’s end.
For those of you who honestly believed that the Patriots would slaughter the St. Louis Rams this past Sunday, you have more faith than I in the hometown team. Sure, I expected the Pats to win, but I thought they would barely cover the three-and-a-half...
While their 5-3 record indicates the Patriots have some holes, this team could very well be 8-0 if not for a few fourth-quarter lapses.
As the offense continues to put up huge numbers, the defense has had its moments of brilliance and embarrassment.
After dedicating six draft choices to the defense, the results have been mixed.
First-rounders Chandler Jones...
The Patriots don’t have a game this weekend, but they remain in the headlines thanks to yesterday’s deal for troubled Tampa cornerback Aqib Talib.
The deal, which cost the Patriots a fourth-round pick in the coming draft (and got them back a 7th rounder) has been the subject of much debate and discussion already, with much of the talk centered around Talib’s considerable rap...
The New England Patriots secondary has clearly been the eyesore of the team so far during the 2012 season and are currently 29th in NFL in total passing defense. In order to fix the problem, the team made the only move in the NFL on trade deadline day but acquiring talented but troubled Tampa Bay [...]
Tweet The New England Patriots have acquired cornerback Aqib Talib from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Terms of the deal were not immediately available. Talib has had multiple run-ins with law enforcement since the Bucs drafted him 20th overall in 2008, but still has a world of talent. Talib has been arrested twice in his young [...]
Last year's BCS National Championship Game featured two of
college football's most preeminent football programs, and two of its fiercest rivals.
Nick Saban led Alabama to their second national title in
three seasons and Les Miles' LSU Tigers endured a miserable end to a near-perfect season. The two powerhouses will meet in Baton Rouge, La. this weekend...