The New England Patriots decided not to dress their leading rusher, Stevan Ridley, for Sunday's win over the Houston Texans, coming on the heels of three straight games in which the third-year pro has fumbled.
On Monday, during his morning conference call with the media, head coach Bill Belichick was asked about the decision to deactivate Ridley, with his remarks laid out below in question-and-answer form.
How does the determination come to deactivate Ridley compared with another player who has also had fumbling issues this season (the reporter cited Julian Edelman, who has five fumbles this season but has not lost any of them)?
"That's easy. We always we do what we feel is best for the team in every situation. And that's the way it's always been, and that's the way it will always be as long as I'm here. I have to do what I feel like is best on any decision in any situation, what I feel is the overall best decision for this football team. that's what drives every decision I make on everything. Plays, players, you name it, I've got to do what's best for the team."
So it's never been about sending a message?
"It's not about sending a message to somebody. I'll just sit down and talk to somebody and tell him what it is. I'm not going to, my message is, I can have a conversation and do have a conversation with anybody on the team that I need to have a conversation with. That's not a problem. There's no sending a message, you sit down and talk to somebody man to man, talk about the situation and so that we're all on the same page on whatever it needs to be, what the direction is going forward. That's easy, there's no sending a message. You just have a conversation with somebody. This isn't cryptic, we're just trying to win a football game, that's all."
Did Ridley not play because of the recent fumbles?
"The inactive players every week are based on, in part, injuries and ultimately what we feel like for that particular game is the best position for the football team in that game to try to win, along with every other decision on the team that I make, is made with what gives our team, in our opinion, the best opportunity to win on Sundays. That's what all decisions are based off of."