Quick hits from the locker room


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick hits from the media-access period in the locker room (4-5 p.m. ET):

1. Players drawing larger media crowds included WR Tiquan Underwood, TE Rob Gronkowski, S/WR Matthew Slater, LB Jerod Mayo and CB/S Devin McCourty. Practice squad WR Britt Davis also DB Sterling Moore also drew some media attention, while DL Vince Wilfork answered questions from reporters in the media workroom.

2. As a reward for their work over the 13-3 regular season, Bill Belichick gave every player on the team a game ball following the season finale vs. the Bills.

3. Wednesday's practice featured a lot of different situations, with Belichick putting pressure on players to respond to various scenarios. The general feeling among players was that it was a good day of "shadow" work -- not full contact, but at a good pace. "We're approaching it just like a game week. No days off around here," linebacker Jerod Mayo said.

4. Some good discussion among players on the value of the bye. One line of thinking is that a bye helps players to get healthy, while another line of thinking is that a team doesn't want to disrupt its rhythm by not playing. Those Patriots players polled said they'd take the bye whenever possible. Along those lines, captain Matthew Slater said, "We have to take advantage of this, from a mental aspect and physically getting good work in, and then the days we do have off, getting some rest and getting off our feet and hopefully giving us a little bit of an advantage here."

5. Practice squad receiver Britt Davis is wearing No. 17, last donned by Taylor Price.