The 2013 season ended in defeat for the New England Patriots, and now the team will be evaluating their roster as the draft and free agency are quickly approaching. Over the course of the next few weeks, PatsPulpit will take a look at each key player and review their performance, as well as their role on the Patriots moving forward.
Continuing our series, we will take a look at running back Stevan Ridley, who turns 25-years-old today.
Stevan Ridley, RB
Stevan Ridley rocked in 2012, rushing for 1,263 yards with 12 touchdowns. Sadly, his year ended disappointingly after getting jolted by a Bernard Pollard helmet-to-helmet hit; Ridley sustained a concussion and fumbled the ball, a crucial turnover leading to a loss in the AFC Championship.
Those misfortunes carried over into 2013, a season where Ridley got benched for two weeks after fumbling in three consecutive games. The former LSU Tiger was sent to the doghouse, but it might've been for the best, since he didn't fumble or 62 straight carries after returning on December 8th.
But it wasn't enough to save his season, as Ridley was still held to only 773 rushing yards, after losing his starting job to LeGarrette Blount. This effort is well deserving of an average, "C" grade, because he still did produce when rushing the ball -- as long as he wasn't fumbling.
Despite the turnovers, it's evident that Stevan Ridley still has loads of talent. He had terrific performances against New Orleans and Pittsburgh, and flashed his brilliant bursts of speed throughout the rest of the season.
It appears that he revised his technique carrying the ball, and he deserves the opportunity to start the season in 2014 alongside Shane Vereen. With Blount headed to free agency, he might just get that chance.