Reporting Levan Reid
While fans haggle back and forth with the talk of whether Bill Belichick should play his starters on Sunday, the idea is the locker room is one way: Play!!!!
“I want to play football,” said Patriots captain and defensive lineman Vince Wilfork on Wednesday. “The more you play the more consistent you’ll be. I want to play every game I can. This is crunch time. Anyone who loves the game wants to play.”
Guys are not thinking about injury or anything negative. The captains are speaking for the squad and it looks like everyone is on the same page and this is all a go.
“I want to play the whole game,” said Mayo. “I’d rather keep playing and keep sharp. If you don’t play this week, you’re off a little next week and you might be a little rusty going into the postseason game. I’m sure everybody who’s healthy and ready to go will play.”
“I don’t think twice about playing, whether it’s the last preseason game or this one,” added Wilfork. “When I play, I play. If you get injured, you get injured. You could get injured off the field, too.”
DOLPHINS EXPECT THE PATS STARTERS
As everyone in New England is posing the question, play them or sit them, the Miami Dolphins fully expect to see the Patriots starters in Sunday’s game.
“I think we’ll see the regulars,” said Miami quarterback Chad Henne on Wednesday’s conference call. “Everyone on that team is a competitor. [New England coach] Bill Belichick is going to want his guys to finish strong and get that 14th win.”
The players from Miami feel that way and so does the coach.
Tony Sparano could be coaching his last game as the Dolphins’ head man. His season did not go as well as planned. The Dolphins were only 1 and 7 in their own home stadium. Coach Sparano also feels the Pats will try and get that 14th win and Tom Brady will be out there leading them.
“I would expect to see a great deal of him,” said Sparano. “I’m sure the Patriots want to win their 14th football game. I’m sure they will do everything in their power to get that game. Most teams going into the playoffs want to go in as hot as they can be.”
PRO BOWLERS REACT
On Tuesday night, Bill Belichick had the privilege of calling six of his players and telling them they made the Pro Bowl — Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, Tom Brady, Brandon Meriweather and Logan Mankins.
For Devin McCourty to get the nod in his first year, is a huge accomplishment. “I don’t know if there’s many people who come into the season as a rookie and expect all of this to happen,” McCourty said. “It’s an honor to know other guys that play in this league and other coaches think you’re a good player.”
Jerod Mayo is in his third season but this is his first Pro Bowl honor. He leads the league in tackles (186) and now he can be considered as one of the games elite. “I was very excited. It was my first one,” Mayo said. “It was a great honor.”
This is going to be Wilfork’s third trip to the Pro Bowl. He is a veteran of this game and shares a veterans view about going. “There are other guys in here who easily could have been going to the Pro Bowl, too,” Wilfork said. “I’m happy for the young guys, maybe happier for them than they are themselves.”
For a second straight season, the game will be played the week prior to the Super Bowl, meaning players on teams who reach the Super Bowl will not participate in the Pro Bowl.
“You really don’t want to play in the game,” Mayo said. “You want to keep playing those postseason games.”