What to do with Stevan Ridley?

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
12:50
PM ET
Put yourself in coach Bill Belichick's hoodie.

You have a talented rookie in Stevan Ridley who looks like the most explosive running back on the roster at this time. Yet he's also a "ball security threat" after fumbling in each of the last two games.

Do you give him extended work in the AFC title game against the Ravens? Or do you stick with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, whose ball security is one of his best assets?

The importance of ball security was touched on during Tuesday's conference calls.

"We work on our ball security every week, with all of our players, all the players that handle the ball," Belichick said. "That's a very important part of what we do. We'll continue to emphasize those same things with everybody that handles the ball, it doesn't make a difference who it is. It's important that everybody that handles it uses the utmost care in taking care of it so that we have it at the end of the play. That includes everybody, every week, every play. It's not one player or one thing, it's everybody, all the time."

Specific to Ridley, director of player personnel Nick Caserio was asked about his scouting report coming out of LSU in terms of ball security.

"He handled the ball quite a bit and it wasn't something that was a concern," he responded. "Turnovers are part of the game. They happen. We try to minimize them as best we can. We spend a lot of time on ball security around here, everybody that handles the ball understands the importance of it. At times, you have to tip your hat to the defense.

"I mean, [Baltimore's Haloti] Ngata made a play last week against [Arian] Foster where he just tomahawk chopped the ball out. You're talking about a 360-pound guy that has a lot of force and a lot of pressure to get the ball out. I would say Foster is probably one of the best running backs in the leauge. A lot of that too is the defense doing their job. It's our job offensively to make sure we do everything we can to take care of the football."

YOUR TURN: What would you do with Ridley in the AFC title game? Share your thoughts in the comments section of this blog entry.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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