Patriots’ Ridley hasn’t lost his edgeBy JEFF HOWE
August 06. 2014 10:33PM
RICHMOND, Va. — Running back Stevan Ridley can’t provide an honest glimpse of his stuff without initiating contact.
This week’s joint practices with the Redskins have offered a view that proves the Patriots fourth-year bruiser hasn’t lost his edge. Ridley has been the Pats’ most productive back on the ground through two joint sessions, keeping his perch as the likely starter in running situations ahead of flashy rookie James White.
An all-encompassing theme has shown the Patriots do some good things with the running game. Again, without the chance to play as physically as they desire when practicing against themselves, the rushing analysis has a huge void.
So far, they like the foundation that’s been laid here.
“It’s good not to be beating up on our own teammates and come out here and scrimmage against another team, but it’s only Week 1 of the preseason,” said Ridley, who has led the Pats in rushing in two consecutive seasons. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, and I think things are heading in the right direction.“It’s a lot easier going against a defense who doesn’t see your plays, the same plays you run seven times a day. We’re seeing a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve just got to keep working.”
Left guard Logan Mankins agreed the hitting is a necessary assessment tool.
“There’s still some good popping going on,” Mankins said. “That’s a tough defense to run against, the scheme that they have, so you’ve really got to do your footwork right and work well together or you’ll get creases in there. It’s been good for us to see that.”
Nothing yet on Revis
Cornerback Darrelle Revis and the Patriots have become enamored with one another during a short stint on the same lines. Maybe their relationship will extend beyond the season, but that hasn’t been decided yet, not by a long shot.
A source Tuesday refuted a report that the Patriots and Revis have engaged in negotiations to extend the corner’s contract. Revis is locked up for one year and $12 million, but the Pats could pick up the team option for 2015 that would trigger an additional $20 million. If they don’t exercise the option, the Pats will have $5 million in dead money against next year’s cap.
Having fun in sun
Forgive the Patriots if they mistakenly believed they were practicing in the heart of a volcano Tuesday. The heat does some funny things to the mind after nearly three hours of wailing on an opponent.Bill Belichick wasn’t sympathetic, though, as he put the team through extra conditioning runs after the workout, all while the Redskins stretched on the adjacent field. Belichick was vocal in his charges for the team to finish strong, and his players rallied to push one another to close out their sideline-to-sideline sprints. With the season opener in Miami, it wasn’t an empty punishment, and the Patriots knew it.“It builds some mental toughness,” said Tom Brady, who probably didn’t realize the temperature peaked at 97 degrees during the practice. “You see where you’re at. It’s certainly not easy to come out here and be out here for three hours and every drill is competitive and every drill you want to do the right thing, but that’s where the mental toughness comes into play. You have to hunker down and see where you’re at. Our guys have worked pretty hard over the last couple days, lost a lot of fluid. You have to get in and really hydrate yourself so you can come out tomorrow and be at it again.”
Hole in middle
Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, who started the final six games last season and is a candidate to do the same this year, departed midway through practice with a left hand injury. He returned later with a hard black cast on the hand and didn’t take part in any further drills. ...
Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork made the play of the day by intercepting Robert Griffin III’s pass and returning it down the sideline to the loud roars of the crowd and his teammates. Wilfork had two interceptions in 2011, and they’re referenced in the highest regard around Gillette Stadium.
Linebacker Ja’Gared Davis didn’t practice but watched the session from the sideline. Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was in pads again but still isn’t participating in team drills.
Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui, running backs Brandon Bolden and Tyler Gaffney, wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Jeremy Gallon, offensive linemen Bryan Stork and Chris Martin, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, defensive back Jemea Thomas and linebacker Cameron Gordon did not practice.