Quick hits from the locker room

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
12:20
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts from the media-access period in the locker room (11:15 a.m.-noon):

1. Every week presents new roster-related challenges for teams, and it looks like the offensive line is one this week for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer has been wearing a walking boot on his right foot after going down in Sunday's win over the Eagles, and my sense is that they are also dealing with some health questions on the interior of the line. File away the name Nick McDonald, a practice squad center/guard who would be first to get a call if help is needed at center/guard on the 53-man roster.

2. Players drawing larger media crowds included outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich, defensive end Andre Carter, safety James Ihedigbo, and receiver/special teams captain Matthew Slater.

3. Sometimes when a player is released, the nameplate on his locker remains in place. Such is not the case with cornerback Phillip Adams. His locker was cleared out, and it looks like a new player is being brought in to occupy it. Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe tweeted that player will be Nathan Jones, who has spent time with the Cowboys (2004-2007), Dolphins (2008-2009, 2011) and Broncos (2010). A cornerback out of Rutgers, he has started nine career games while playing in 101 games. Jones looks like he will be wearing No. 23.

4. The release of Adams came as a surprise to one player. The only conclusion that could be drawn was that coaches didn't like what they saw on tape.

5. One of the themes this week, with the 0-11 Colts coming to town, is how the Patriots don't focus on records. Matthew Slater relayed that coach Bill Belichick told players if they are asked about the Colts' record to have that question directed to Belichick instead.

6. Safety James Ihedigbo along those lines: "We have a mentality this week, on defense and as a team, that it's about us. It's about the team we want to continue to be and excelling at areas we need to excel at to get where we want to go."

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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