- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A few picked-up pieces from the New England Patriots' locker room during the media-access period (1:15-2 p.m.):
Svitek's rise to top unit yields attention: Veteran offensive lineman Will Svitek, who signed a one-year free-agent contract with the Patriots in the offseason, will start at right tackle with Marcus Cannon (ankle) having already been ruled out. Svitek was one of the more popular players drawing media attention and he discussed what this season has been like for him under coach Dante Scarnecchia. "He focuses on technique so much, and details, and he works us hard," Svitek said. "He's a great coach, he really knows fundamentals and he knows the scheme. I've learned a lot. This is my ninth year and I feel like I'm a rookie again sometimes because I've learned so many different things."
Talib on mental approach: Cornerback Aqib Talib was one of the few players to draw a large media crowd. He answered a question on the mental challenge of keeping an edge against a two-win team. "It's football, man. Any given Sunday. You still have to line up, you still have to prepare. Just because they're 2-9 doesn't mean they're going to hand us the win.," he said. "We prepare all week for it and treat it like it's any other week." When it comes to possibly taking their foot off the accelerator, Talib cited a "great coaching staff" and added the coaches "don't let us do that."
Special teams units find motivation from 2012: Special teams captain Matthew Slater reflected on two 2012 games against the Texans, and said coaches have challenged them to be better than they were. "They really embarrassed us last year the way they performed against us," he said. "Almost everything could have been better," he said.