Patriots

O'Brien: Ridley getting better, still long way to go

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O'Brien: Ridley getting better, still long way to go

In recent weeks, rookie running back Stevan Ridley has been used as New England's primary back in critical situations.

Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien gave his insight on the improvements Ridley has made during his first NFL season, but O'Brien also acknowledged that the young back has plenty more to work on.

"I think he's been a guy that's been improving every week," said O'Brien. "And early in the season, in the Oakland game, he had some productive runs for us. And so, we've just been trying every week to get him in there. And it just seemed like in the flow of the game, the way the game was going, we were trying to play at a fast pace, and he happened to be the back that was in there, and he had a couple good runs. So again, he was the guy we stayed with, just based on what was going on in that game.

"He's a bigger guy," added O'Brien. "I think he's a slashing type of runner. I think all the running backs have unique talents that they bring to the position, and he's just a guy that fit in pretty well at that position, and he's got a little bit of size, and things like that.

"So he's going to continue to improve and try to get better at the nuances on playing that position. That's a very, very difficult position to play, as a rookie, because you're involved in so many different things. The running game, blitz pickup, the passing game, route running versus zone and versus man. I mean, there's so many things that go into play at that position, and he's gotten better. But he's got a long way to go."

Adam Butler to Jalen Ramsey: 'Be humble or be humbled'

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Adam Butler to Jalen Ramsey: 'Be humble or be humbled'

FOXBORO -- The Patriots are well aware of Jalen Ramsey's Super Bowl prediction, and they're not about to take the same approach to the AFC title game buildup. 

"If you're going to make a statement like that," Patriots rookie defensive tackle Adam Butler said on Wednesday, "you better be able to back it up . . . It's a bold statement to make. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. But like I said, be humble or be humbled. That's all I can really say about that."

As that quote made the rounds, Ramsey tweeted an emphatic "WHO!???" Didn't seem to be a coincidence.

What Ramsey said, though, is part of who the Jaguars are. They're young. They're confident. They're not afraid to talk. 

"I ain't got too much to say, but y'all make sure you bring that same energy out here next week and the week after," Ramsey said in Jacksonville following his team's plane ride back from Pittsburgh on Saturday. "We're going to the Super Bowl and we're going to win that [expletive]."

Outside of Butler, the comments have garnered little in the way of public commentary from Patriots players. 

"I mean, obviously, that's his game," Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe said of Ramsey. "He's a confident dude . . . Obviously, they're happy to go to the championship game, but, you know, that mindset of thinking ahead of yourself, I don't think it's a good idea . . ."

"We saw what happened to the Steelers. But on our end, obviously, we're not thinking ahead to the [Super Bowl] because we have to get past [the Jaguars]. So, we heard it, but we're not too focused on it because we have to focus on doing our job for the game."

Jags coach jokes: Brady could 'probably throw left-handed'

Jags coach jokes: Brady could 'probably throw left-handed'

FOXBORO - Who knows if Tom Brady’s injured right hand is cause for concern? The quarterback reportedly injured himself on a botched handoff at practice Wednesday and was got X-rays to determine if there was a break. A source close to Brady said the 40-year old “should be ok,” but that’s hardly definitive. 

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This morning, the news was presented to Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone. He’s no dummy. 

“I’m sure he could probably throw left-handed if he has a problem with his right hand and throw just as well,” he said.  Marrone's Jags face the Patriots Sunday in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. 

Brady has missed a fair share of practices this year and been limited for a number of others. That hasn’t prevented the Pats QB from being the odds-on-favorite to win the NFL’s MVP. Patriot players didn’t notice difference yesterday, and if they did, they sure as heck weren’t sharing.

“He looked good, like he always does,” said Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Eric Rowe added, “Shoot, I don’t know. He looked like Tom. He was doing the same stuff he always does.”

Brady is coming off a 35-of-53 for 337 yards and three-touchdown performance in the Divisional Round playoff game vs. Tennessee. 

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