BOSTON (CBS) –While rookie running back Stevan Ridley finds himself behind the Patriots veterans on the depth chart, he may be moving up if he has more performances like Thursday night's.
Ridley, a 5-11, 225 pound back out of LSU, led the Patriots with 111 totals yards in their 47-12 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the preseason opener. He also led the way with three scores, rushing for a pair of touchdowns and catching another.
"I just went out there and played ball," the 24-year-old said after the game. "I'm very thankful to the coaches for putting me in the opportunities that I had. It was truly a blessing to be out here on the field, out here playing my dream."
Ridley did not shy away from contact, using his big body to pick up extra yards. It may have only been the first game of preseason, but the young back wanted to make sure he made his mark.
"I'm just being a football player, I'm doing what the coaches asked me to do; they want me to be a downhill runner and that's what I'm going to continue to do. If that's what this team needs me to do, that's what I'm going to continue to do," he said.
The Patriots drafted Ridley in the third round in hopes of adding a solid short-yard back and contributor on special teams. But more impressive than his four yards per carry were his team-leading seven receptions. Better known as a power-back, his receiving skills looked solid. Ridley almost looked like a young Kevin Faulk, but he knows there is a long road ahead before any real comparisons are made.
"I'm nowhere close to perfect and I have a lot of work to do. I'm not satisfied and I'm sure the coaches aren't either. I'm going to continue to work hard every day and try to do my best and help this team improve to get better," said Ridley.
With good reports out of training camp, it should come as no surprise the Patriots rookie had some success against the Jaguars.
One thing did surprise the former LSU captain though.
"The media," he said with a smile after the game. "There's a lot of people in here."
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