Rookie RB Ridley carves out role

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- On Saturday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, "I think we need to start making some decisions about who is going to do what and what we want to be and how we want to use different players."

Along those lines, one newcomer who has clearly distinguished himself is rookie running back Stevan Ridley (3rd round, 73rd overall).

Going through snap counts for the first two preseason games, Ridley has made the most of his opportunity. He played 21 of 34 first-half snaps against the Jaguars, then was on the field for 31 of 34 second-half snaps against the Buccaneers.

His preseason stats: 30 carries, 148 yards (4.9 avg.), 2 touchdowns, 1 lost fumble.

Sometimes stats can be deceiving, but Ridley's are not. He has run hard, showing the ability to make the first tackler miss. He projects as the team's third running back at this point, behind last year's top options, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead.

Add in Ridley's presence on the top punt coverage and kickoff coverage units, and it reflects a player who has done a nice job carving out a role for himself on not just the 53-man active roster, but also the 46-man game-day roster.