By Danny Picard
FOXBORO -- Veteran running back Fred Taylor was once again among the missing at Patriots' practice on Friday at Gillette Stadium. He was one of three players that weren't present; safety Jarrad Page (left calf) and practice squad receiver Darnell Jenkins were the other two.
Taylor (toe) hasn't played since Week 3 against Buffalo. Belichick said Friday that Taylor is improving but, like all injuries and illnesses, his complete improvement is unpredictable.
"Fred's definitely making progress," said Belichick. "He's a lot further along this week than he was last week. Last week was definitely ahead of the week before. It took him a little while there, to kind of just get going, but now that he's back doing things, he's made good progress.
"It's no different than any other situation. When a player has an injury, you rehab the injury, until the injury is at a point where he can begin activity. Once he begins activity, and there's no setbacks, then you increase the level of activity until the player's ready to participate in the main stream with the rest of the team.
"It's very unpredictable, just like all of us when we don't feel well," added Belichick. "We want to feel better, and sometimes you feel better the next day. Sometimes it takes two days, sometimes it's a week, sometimes it's two weeks."
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard
Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.
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2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath
13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell
27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy
32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship
36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences
44:50 Matt Light interview
FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knows that how you play, not where, is what matters most.
That's why when he was asked on Wednesday about the advantage the Patriots will have by playing at Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, he wasn't willing to go all-in on how a comfortable environment will positively impact his team.
"I don’t know," he said. "Go ask Dallas and Kansas City."
The Patriots apparently thought enough of home-field advantage that they played their starters throughout their regular-season finale win in Miami, exposing their best players to potential injury in order to maintain their positive momentum while simultaneously ensuring a better road to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots fans in attendance on Sunday will help when the Patriots take on the Steelers, Belichick acknowledged. But there's much more to it than that.
"Yeah, of course," he said, "but the game is won by the players on the field. That’s who wins football games – the players. And they’ll decide it Sunday night."
And if you needed any further proof, just ask the Cowboys and Chiefs how helpful their home crowds were in the Divisional Round.