Notes: Pats practice hard; Woodhead dodges queries

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Notes: Pats practice hard; Woodhead dodges queries

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

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.

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

FOXBORO – Back in March, Eric Weddle batted his eyes longingly at the Patriots. The two-time All-Pro safety’s time was done with the Chargers and he wanted to spend his NFL autumn with a team that had a chance to win it all. 

He didn’t land in New England, but he didn’t too badly, winding up with the usually competitive Ravens.  

On a Thursday conference call with New England media, Weddle confirmed that there was mutual interest expressed. 

“Obviously, I was interested,” he acknowledged. “I have nothing but high regard, respect and admiration – and envy, quite honestly – of the success of the New England Patriots over the years. Obviously, battling them in my career, it’s always been a great game. I love the way they play, love the foundation, love everything about it. It was definitely on my radar. There were talks both ways, it just didn’t end up [working out].”

The numbers massed at the position with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon played a role in the two sides not being able to reach accord, according to Weddle. 

“I’m good buddies with Patrick Chung,” he said. “I grew up playing with him and Devin [McCourty] is one of the best to play, so I don’t know if it would have worked out personnel-wise. But obviously, I could have seen myself fitting in there seamlessly.”

Weddle’s New England attraction apparently wasn’t love that bloomed late in his career. Toward the end of his conference call, Weddle said, “I’m still wondering why they just didn’t draft me in ’07; I could have been still playing there now.”

As reporters puzzled for a moment trying to recall the 2007 first-rounder, Weddle chipped in with the answer: “[They took] Brandon Meriweather.”

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

FOXBORO - The Patriots got a desired outcome Thursday night when the Chiefs handed the Raiders their third loss of the season. 

The 21-13 loss dropped Oakland and KC into a tie atop the AFC West at 10-3 but the Chiefs, by virtue of beating Oakland twice this season, have the divisional tiebreaker. Oakland went from the top seed in the AFC to the fifth spot.

More importantly around here, the Patriots now are in position to win out and claim the AFC’s No. 1 seed. 

Prior to the Raiders loss, Oakland would have been the top seed if both they and the Patriots won out.  Now, the 10-2 Patriots have a leg up on the rest of the conference. The Raiders’ road stays tough. They are at San Diego and Denver and host the Colts. 

The Chiefs have a more favorable close to the season with home games against Tennessee and Denver before their season finale at San Diego. 

The Patriots’ road over the final four is no picnic though, beginning with the Ravens and at Denver before the last two hosting the Jets and traveling to Miami.