The New England Patriots’ running back corps is in flux with LeGarrette Blount on the open market in free agency, but if it comes down to it, Stevan Ridley is confident he can retake the starting role.
“I can. It’s gonna take some work, and it’s just opportunities. When they do present themselves, I have to take advantage of them,” Ridley said Thursday morning on “NFL AM” on NFL Network. “I think that’s where I made a mistake last year. I let it slip away, because I was in the position to do something special last year. I have no one else to blame but myself.”
Ridley had 290 attempts for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012 and was expected to build on those impressive numbers in 2013. He was benched after fumbling three times in three games, though, and lost the starting job to Blount.
“Got to hold onto the football,” Ridley said. “Bottom line: Last year I was a starter. I was a starter at the beginning of the year this year. Coach didn’t sit me down for any other reason besides I put the ball on the ground a few times.”
Ridley is confident he can be the Patriots’ starter — he still had 178 carries for 733 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013 — but he also wants Blount to be re-signed, even if it means a backfield by committee.
“With Blount, I think that he was an awesome addition,” Ridley said. “Honestly, from the bottom of my heart, I hope he stays. Because all of us together with Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden, it’s a close backfield, but it’s a solid backfield. We get along great. The running game is kind of where we want it as a team. But everything can be improved.”