Stevan Ridley Poised For Bigger Role In 2012

July 27, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley signs autographs during training camp at the team practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

While he isn't among the top backs in the National Football League, BenJarvus Green-Ellis is one of the most reliable. In the hundreds of football games that he's played throughout his life, he's never fumbled. Never really came close too, either.

But times have changed in New England. Green-Ellis--who had been with the Patriots for the entirety of his four-year career--has moved on; signing a two-year deal with the Bengals. With it, the Patriots will once again have to go searching for another starting running back. Luckily, they've got a guy in their back yard, ready for the job.

Second-year man Stevan Ridley has been the star of the Patriots' four-man backfield thus far. He's been the most explosive back, and has received the majority of the first-team snaps at running back. While the Patriots also have fellow second-year player Shane Vereen, veteran Danny Woodhead and rookie Brandon Bolden; it's clear that Ridley is the guy they want to win the starting job. Ridley expressed his desire to win the job on Sunday:

"Oh man, I think that's every little kid's dream," Ridley said, when asked how badly he wants to be the No. 1 option. "I'm going to say pretty bad."

While Green-Ellis was considered the "starting" running back, he really have been considered the "primary" back. The Patriots use a "running back by committee" approach; in which they utilize a variety of backs during different formations and situations. Ridley recognizes this, and is confident that he and his fellow backs can carry the load.

"It's a team effort. We have a group of running backs that can all play," he said. "We all do things differently and we all do them well. For me, I'm just going in there trying to pull my load, as coach says, and so are the other guys. Regardless of who it is going to be, one of us is going to be the starting guy and the next will be ready to step up when we're tired."

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