FOXBORO, Mass. — Stevan Ridley can take the bulk of the credit for his 1,263-yard season last year, but he couldn’t have done it without one of the best offensive lines in football leading the way.
Ridley understands that, and looked downright giddy talking about having all of his starters back this season.
“I’ve got my five starters back. What else is there to say, man? That’s pretty awesome if you ask me,” Ridley said. “We’re just excited to move forward as a team — offensive line, receivers, quarterback and running backs, the whole offense. It’s going to take all 11 of us to get it done.”
Marcus Cannon was taking starting reps at right guard on Friday during the team’s first training camp practice. When asked about the third-year player, Ridley had some special praise.
“Cannon, that’s a big body out there, man,” Ridley said. “For us, he’s shown flashes last year and doing some things. Cannon’s always been a hard worker. So, if they plug him in, guard or tackle, wherever he is, I think that he’s going to go in there and work hard because that’s the player he is.”
Ridley said the team will have no problem when it’s on the running backs’ and offensive line’s shoulders to show some toughness and move the ball in short-yardage situations.
“We have five starters on the offensive line. We’ve got fresh backs in the room,” Ridley said. “We’re younger, we’re hungry and we’re ready to go. We’re going to have to get in the trenches when it’s third-and-1 or it’s the goal line and we got to punch it in. That’s our job to do as runners.”
Ridley improved from Year 1 to Year 2. If he’s going to make another jump, it could be into the ever-talked about “elite” category with names like Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster. Ridley said improving should be a yearly strategy.
Every year you have to improve. If you’re not improving, you’re falling behind,” Ridley said. “That’s how I look at it. You can never get complacent. You just have to come in here and work hard every single day.”
Ridley seemed calm and confident during his 10-minute sessions with the media. And with all five starters back on the offensive line, why wouldn’t he be?
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