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New England Patriots

Ridley focused on eliminating fumbles

  • New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches on the field during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches on the field during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady works out during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady works out during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, center, warms up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, center, warms up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots tackle Nate Solder warms up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots tackle Nate Solder warms up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots quarterbacks, from left, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett warm up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots quarterbacks, from left, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett warm up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots quarterbacks, Tom Brady, right, and Jimmy Garoppolo warm up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots quarterbacks, Tom Brady, right, and Jimmy Garoppolo warm up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • The New England Patriots practice during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    The New England Patriots practice during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington catches a pass during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington catches a pass during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, center left, watches during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, center left, watches during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots outside linebacker Jamie Collins stands on the field during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots outside linebacker Jamie Collins stands on the field during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones runs a drill during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones runs a drill during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots quarterbacks, from left, Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Mallett during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots quarterbacks, from left, Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Mallett during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots safety Shamiel Gary reaches for a pass during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots safety Shamiel Gary reaches for a pass during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, right, dodges defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) and outside linebacker Jamie Collins (91) during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, right, dodges defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) and outside linebacker Jamie Collins (91) during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • Concord's Gracion Smith slides safely to second in the first round Division I championship game against Nashua North on Thursday afternoon, June 5, 2014. Concord lost 5-3. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Concord's Gracion Smith slides safely to second in the first round Division I championship game against Nashua North on Thursday afternoon, June 5, 2014. Concord lost 5-3.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches on the field during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady works out during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, center, warms up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots tackle Nate Solder warms up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots quarterbacks, from left, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett warm up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots quarterbacks, Tom Brady, right, and Jimmy Garoppolo warm up during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • The New England Patriots practice during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington catches a pass during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, center left, watches during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots outside linebacker Jamie Collins stands on the field during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones runs a drill during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots quarterbacks, from left, Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Mallett during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots safety Shamiel Gary reaches for a pass during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, right, dodges defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) and outside linebacker Jamie Collins (91) during an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • Concord's Gracion Smith slides safely to second in the first round Division I championship game against Nashua North on Thursday afternoon, June 5, 2014. Concord lost 5-3. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley talks with reporters following an NFL football organized team activity in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Fumbles plagued Stevan Ridley even when the ball was dry. A steady rain presents another challenge to the New England Patriots running back.

It wasn’t a problem for him yesterday.

The Patriots continued their organized team activities on a soggy day and Ridley gripped the ball as if his job depended on it. It might if he keeps fumbling.

“I told one of the young guys today, that’s the quickest way to get off the field,” Ridley said. “You can ask me first.”

He’s speaks from experience.

Ridley lost fumbles in three consecutive games last season. After the third, in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos on Nov. 24, he was benched for the rest of New England’s 34-31 comeback win in overtime. He lost a total of four fumbles last season leading to three touchdowns and a field goal.

So he’s been focusing on avoiding a repeat this year.

“All you can do is really squeeze (the ball) high and tight,” Ridley said. “I think that was a lesson I had to go through and, hopefully, I won’t have to go through it again, but who knows?

“A little bit of adversity never hurts anybody. ... You take your mistakes, you learn from them and you grow and you just keep on pushing.”

The third-round pick from LSU fumbled just once as a rookie in 2011, but the Patriots recovered it. He lost two of his four fumbles in 2012 before the problem escalated last year. And his rushing production dropped – from 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns on 290 carries in 2012 to 773 yards and seven touchdowns on 178 attempts.

So he’s concentrating on improving his overall focus on every play.

“I think if I can do that I can become a better player,” Ridley said. “When you lose focus on the small things – whether it’s small assignments, whether it’s carrying the football, whether it’s running a route, whether its blitz pickup – those are things that cost you your playing time.”

LeGarrette Blount emerged as the top back late in the season, rushing for 431 yards and eight touchdowns in three straight games before both runners were shut down in a 26-16 loss at Denver in the AFC championship game. Blount left for the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent, leaving Ridley, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden as Coach Bill Belichick’s veteran backs.

“You can go out there and be a starter one game and the next game you’re two or three guys behind,” Ridley said. “That’s what Coach stresses to us every week. We have to go out there and be as competitive as we can be. He’s going to play the matchups game and we just have to be unselfish enough to capitalize on the plays that we get.”

Ridley’s four fumbles last year came on dry days. It rained during the last regular-season game, a 34-20 win over the Buffalo Bills, and the first playoff games, a 43-22 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Both games were at Foxborough.

Yesterday, three months before the regular season, rain fell throughout practice.

“There’s no contact so you should be running your routes perfect. You should be catching every ball that’s thrown to you. You shouldn’t be dropping anything on the ground,” Ridley said. “Rain, sleet, whatever’s out there, whatever the conditions are, you have to find a way to fight through that.”

Some had trouble. One receiver fell while trying to cut.

“When you have a wet surface, you have to stick to your fundamentals,” wide receiver Julian Edelman said.

Wet or dry, Ridley knows he must do that all the time.

“We’re practicing either way. Coach says he doesn’t care about the conditions – rain, sleet, snow – we’re playing in them,” he said. “You just never know, but whatever it is there are no excuses.”

Ridley is entering the final season of his contract and tries not to think much about it.

“I have to go out there and play football and hit it hard and run the ball and get wide open,” he said. “I just have to be the same player I’ve been.”

Anything else?

“Try to go out there and be mistake-free.”

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