By Danny Picard
FOXBORO -- There's a sign at Gillette stadium, when Patriots players enter and exit the building, that reads, "Don't believe the hype."
At 14-2, and having a first-round bye in the playoffs, these Patriots have, so far, exceeded the expectations of those outside the locker room.
But with this weekend off, and knowing that this weekend is only given off to the elite teams in the league, just how will the Patriots go about staying humble?
Veteran Vince Wilfork believes that's not an issue.
"Trust me, you have a bunch of guys in this locker room that hate to lose, hate to lose," said Wilfork prior to Thursday's practice. "Starting with me, I'm one of them . . . We all love football, but at the same time, we have to be able to take it one day at a time, especially now. Without a game this week, we definitely have to take it one day at a time, day-by-day right now, because we need to get better as a ball club, and that's exactly what we're trying to do now."
The Patriots practiced in full pads for the second straight day on Thursday. Wilfork hinted that perhaps coach Bill Belichick will give the team the rest of the weekend off, after Thursday's practice, saying, "Hopefully, Wednesday and Thursday will be enough."
"With us not having a game this week, I think we're trying to just stay on our regular routine," said Wilfork. "Going out and practicing, putting us in pads and everything, just so we don't lose a lot. Understandable, understandable, so I think we got some good work done yesterday. I really think we got better as a football team yesterday. And we need to continue that today."
Running back Danny Woodhead (head) practiced in a rednon-contact jersey for the second straight day on Thursday. When asked about his apparent head injury before the practice, Woodhead dodged the questions.
"I get better at what I do every day, and that's, whether it's pass blocking or running the ball, or whatever," said Woodhead. "I'm just trying to do my job better every single day."
When asked if he felt like he had dodged a bullet, Woodhead responded by saying, "Honestly? I'm just trying to get better at what I do every single day, try to do my job better every day. Sorry, I've got to go guys. I've got a meeting."
Joining him with a red top at Thursday's practice was offensive lineman Dan Koppen. Five Patriots players were missing from the session altogether. Those players were Aaron Hernandez, Jermaine Cunningham, Mike Wight, Eric Moore, and Sebastian Vollmer.
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.