FOXBORO -- Jermaine Cunningham's four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances came down early Monday afternoon.
Some two hours later, the Patriots locker room opened to reporters.
"We have it set up so that as soon as somebody goes down, it's the next man in," fellow defensive end Trevor Scott explained. "You're expected to perform just as well as anybody else. That's why we work hard all week, to stay physically and mentally prepared."
Taking Scott's temperature is important this week; he's the one on deck.
"I don't even know what's going to happen as far as depth chart or whatever, but I'll definitely be preparing to get a more active role this week.
"If it does increase I feel like I'll be ready for it," he said matter-of-factly. "I can't control what goes on, but I can control what I do on Sundays. I'll go through and I'll be preparing hard this week."
Scott served mostly as a special teamer in the first half of the season, playing just over 10-percent of the team's defensive snaps. Recently, that's changed.
Starting 'D'-end Chandler Jones injured an ankle in New England's Week 11 win over the Colts. That's when Scott stepped in. The fifth-year veteran has played 51 snaps in the last two games, including 32 against Indianapolis.
Jones was seen Monday in the locker room with neither a walking boot nor a limp. Even if he returns this weekend in Miami, Scott's bump in playing time should maintain, if not increase, over the next four games.
And being ready is all he cares about.
Does that mean an uptick in preparation? No. Considering the Next-Man-In philosophy, Scott is already there.
"It doesn't change," he said of the workload. "I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing all week and see what happens."