Leftovers from Patriots locker room

October, 20, 2012
10/20/12
6:00
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Serving up some leftovers from the Patriots locker room over the last week at Gillette Stadium:

Different week of practice. Bill Belichick changed up the normal routine of practice, with players having a walk-through on Wednesday, a regular outdoor practice Thursday, then an indoor practice Friday. The scaled-back Wednesday was probably tied to the Patriots being a banged-up team in need of a rest. "I appreciated it," linebacker Jerod Mayo said Friday, in reference to having the reins pulled back a bit.

No overlooking Woodhead's contributions. Running back Danny Woodhead, who is set to face his former team, has been one of the Patriots' most productive offensive players the last two weeks. He hasn't played a majority of the running back snaps (49 of 181, including penalties), but when he's been on the field and his number has been called, good things have happened (especially on third down). With this in mind, Woodhead drew a large media crowd Thursday and he touched on his role as an elder presence in a young running back room. "I'd like to think of myself as a young guy still; you're making me feel old," the 27-year-old Woodhead said. "If guys have questions, I'm always there to answer them."

Focus on identifying Tebow. One theme that came up multiple times with Tim Tebow was identification; when he's on the field, it could be in a variety of spots. "Obviously he has a specific skill-set and he can do a lot of different things -- special teams, playing quarterback, and sometimes he lines up at receiver," linebacker Jerod Mayo said, adding that Tebow is a tough player to tackle. "You always have to know where he is, but at the same time, he's a football player like anyone else." Other players added that facing Tebow twice last season, when Tebow was with the Broncos, can only be a benefit.

Respect for Jets special teams. Matthew Slater, the Patriots' special teams captain, called Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff as good of a special teams coach as there is in the NFL. Big emphasis on special teams this week, with Slater pointing out the Jets have three successful fake punts. "The alertness level has to go up 10-fold," Slater said, specifically speaking of Tim Tebow's presence on special teams. "This guy is capable of running and throwing it. Say what you want about the guy; when he has the ball in his hands, he makes plays. He's been able to do that in the special teams area of the game."

Mankins entertained by Rex Ryan. In a light moment, veteran guard Logan Mankins shared some thoughts on Jets coach Rex Ryan. "He's pretty funny [but] I haven't heard anything this week. I've been too tired to watch TV at night, so I haven't caught anything, but usually it's pretty good," he said, before being informed that Ryan had over-the-top praise for Bill Belichick. Mankins embraced the topic. "That's a good coach to fawn over," he said approvingly.

Who's talking trash? At one point, the discussion of trash talk was brought up to defensive end/linebacker Rob Ninkovich. He relayed that he's not a big trash talker, but one teammate is. "[Brandon] Spikes is pretty good at it," Ninkovich said, smiling. "I can always hear him behind me, and I kind of laugh." As for what Spikes is saying, Ninkovich joked, "Can't say it on television."

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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