FOXBORO (CBS) – As the players get ready for Sunday’s game against the Jets, their sound bites are being monitored. Rex Ryan always tries to get into a war of words with the opponent. The Pats players were warned to watch what you say.
“Definitely,” linebacker Jerod Mayo said when asked if that was part of Belichick’s message to players in their morning team meeting. “That’s why I’m hoping no one asks me those kinds of questions [laughing].”
Some players have been through this before. Pitting Belichick against Ryan is going to be a theme this week. Ryan’s thoughts from yesterday was something the players got a wind of this morning. Most thought it was a non-issue.
“Coach [Ryan] says and do what he do, and we do what we do over here,” Branch said. “Whatever you have to do to get his team motivated, I think that’s what he’s going to do.”
PATS DISCUSS SUNDAY’S GAME
Here’s some of what the players had to say today in the locker room as they get ready for the Jets on Sunday.
WR Deion Branch (on Tom Brady’s study habits, a topic brought up by Rex Ryan)
“[Smiling] Why do you say that? [Laughing] Tom studies a lot. We get the bulk of it in the meeting rooms, with the players only, when we go over the things he’s been looking [at]. It carries over to the practice field as well. Tom is a dork when it comes to that. I’m going to leave that alone.”
LB Jerod Mayo (on why the loss to the Browns was so important)
“To be honest, I think we learned the most from that game throughout the whole season. Cleveland came out and ran the ball effectively, so now we know what to expect from other teams that try and do the same things. So, hopefully we can get on top of them early and make them throw the ball.”
TE Alge Crumpler (on QB Tom Brady)
“Tom’s an ultimate competitor. I’ve always talked about that. He’s so humble, and off the field, he’s really dedicated to doing a lot of the things he has to do to help this team win. I’m really amazed at how quickly he can turn the page from one team to the next after we’ve won a ballgame. I’m really looking forward for him to have an opportunity for him to turn the page after this game.”
S Jarrad Page (on the Patriots’ avoiding bulletin-board material)
“It’s just the philosophy of our team. We’re here to work. At the end of the day, you’re paid to get W’s on Sunday. So, when it’s game time, that’s when you’ve got to come out, and you can do your talking then. You either win or lose. And that’s the most important thing, and we’ll let people talk about that instead of what we’re talking about during the week.”
SNOW BIG DEAL
The talk of record amounts of snow is not slowing down the Pats and their preparation. Players were asked if they think because of the weather, practice will be held in the bubble tomorrow, and Alge Crumpler said “NO WAY.”
“Our bubble is just for naming rights,” Crumpler said this morning, drawing laughter from media members.
The Patriots have had a few practices inside the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse this year, but coach Bill Belichick’s general philosophy is that the team gains valuable experience from practicing in the elements it might experience on game day.
TUESDAY PRACTICE UPDATES
The Patriots held their first practice of the week today. Danny Woodhead is no longer wearing the red practice jersey and has been cleared for contact. He sustained a head injury in the team’s season finale.
Aaron Hernandez also returned to practice today. He missed the final 2 games of the season with a hip injury. Hernandez against the Jets will be a huge storyline this week. He has had good games against New York this season, hauling in 9 catches for 152 yards in 2 games.
Meanwhile, defensive lineman Myron Pryor (back injury) and outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham (calf injury) were the lone players not spotted at the start of practice. Depth along the defensive line is one of the Patriots’ top concerns entering the game, while Cunningham’s injury might be related to the team signing Marques Murrell last week.