Thursday, January 13, 2011
Patriots players keeping it light
By Mike Rodak
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For the third straight day this week, the Patriots locker room remained quiet during the media access period, with players continuing to send a message that they would not exchange trash talk with the Jets prior to Sunday's Divisional playoff game.
However, with this being just the team's second playoff game in the past three seasons, much of the Patriots' roster has little or no experience in the postseason. So while they may be able to stay grounded during their week of practice, how will these players react when they take the field on Sunday afternoon?
"[There was] a lot of intensity. The atmosphere felt great," linebacker Gary Guyton said of his first playoff game last January, a 33-14 loss to the Ravens.
"It's a big game, and everybody's obviously getting excited about it," linebacker Tully Banta-Cain said. "Nerves are running wild, but we're trying still to do what we do and not get too tight, and staying loose for the most part, but the urgency is much higher."
The Patriots will practice four times this week, one more than their usual number because of the bye week. The key to getting through the practice week, according to players, is keeping things light.
"Just go out there and have fun," Guyton said. "Learn together."
Players kept it loose in the locker room on Thursday as well. As Banta-Cain was being interviewed by reporters, cornerback Leigh Bodden and safety Brandon McGowan, who are both on injured reserve, jokingly pretended to ask the veteran linebacker questions.
"Hey, we're not talking about injuries around here!" Banta-Cain joked back. "Get out of here!"