- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It was a quiet day in the Patriots locker room on Thursday, as the team concluded its second day of on-field preparation for their Week 13 matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
Passing along some of the sights and sounds from the media availability inside the locker room.
Welker aware of the stakes. With a win on Sunday, the Patriots would clinch yet another AFC East division crown, and wide receiver Wes Welker said that's definitely a part of his mindset leading into the game. "Absolutely," he said. "It shows you how big of a game it is. It's still early in the year, but this is a big game for us, and one that we've really got to play well in, and make sure that we're executing the way we need to do and playing the way we need to."
Wilfork not concerned about stats. Some observers have suggested a decline in the play of nose tackle Vince Wilfork, whose statistics never tell the full story of his impact on the game. That talk was largely squashed by his game-changing performance against the Jets in Week 12. Wilfork said he doesn't use negative press as motivation, nor does he care about stats. "I don't pay no attention," he said. "My whole career, high school, college, it seems like the longer I go, the better I play. Nine years now, the same thing, I just play well. Sometimes I make some adjustments in games and weeks, sometimes I don't make plays, sometimes I make a lot of plays. My thing is to be the best I can be for my teammates. If that's making one tackle or making 10 tackles. I really don't care about [statistics]. My goal will always be do what I do best, and do what I can do to help this ball club win."
Mayo a leading vote getter, but don't tell him. Patriots inside linebacker Jerod Mayo, who leads the NFL in tackles, also leads all inside linebackers in 2013 Pro Bowl voting, with nearly 192,000 votes upon the most recent publication of the totals. But don't bother telling the 26-year-old where he stands. "I don't want to know," he said with a laugh. "Don't even tell me." Why isn't Mayo caught up on the vote totals? "I really don't even watch TV like that," he said. "I'm on the X-Box when I get some time. I play some X-Box, a little PlayStation 3. I really don't even watch -- it's probably hard for you to believe -- I don't watch a lot of TV."
Ebert makes an appearance. Recently re-signed wide receiver Jeremy Ebert, who is donning number 17 as a member of the Patriots practice squad, was spotted in the locker room. With the Patriots at just four wide receivers on the active roster -- all of whom were again limited at practice on Thursday -- it remains to be seen if the team will add another wideout to the roster in advance of Sunday's game.
Talib settling in. Cornerback Aqib Talib, who said it will "definitely be nice" to return to the warm weather of South Florida (he was recently acquired from the Buccaneers), added that his teammates have made a difference in allowing him to settle in with the Patriots. "The team helped me out a lot," he said. "A lot of guys on the team did a good job, did a great job of just welcoming me in and helped me out a lot just making me feel welcomed. Settled down a little bit, tell me where to be. Dev [Devin McCourty], Jerod [Mayo], a lot of guys."