Patriots' Taylor: I've got that itch

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Patriots' Taylor: I've got that itch

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- It's beginning to get a "Fridays with Fred" feeling inside the Patriots locker room following Friday practice sessions. And it will continue to be that way until veteran running back Fred Taylor returns to game action.

Taylor (turf toe) hasn't played since Week 3, but did resume practicing last week with limited participation. Last Friday, he said he was ready to go against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but didn't get the call from coach Bill Belichick.

This Friday, Taylor said much of the same, but did sound a little more antsy, and a little more ready to suit up for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

"I feel pretty good," said Taylor. "I had a better week of practice. Ultimately, you guys know as well as I do. It's the coach's decision at the end of the day. So I'll just stay patient and see what that call is.

"I haven't played in a while, but I've got that itch. I'd definitely love to be back out there and keep improving.

"Belichick knows what's best for the team, going forward," added Taylor. "And whatever that is, I have to live with it, and just be ready for it. I had a very solid week of practice, a lot better than last week. I'm continuing to improve, so we'll see how it goes."

Media members are only allowed to watch the first 10-15 minutes of practice each day, so while Taylor has been listed with "limited participation," it's tough to tell just how he looks.

He described why he felt he had a better practice this week, than last.

"Getting some quicks back, some burst," said Taylor. "Just getting in and out of my cuts feel a lot better. And able to just mix it up with the defenders. Last week wasn't as much of that. But this week, the confidence is just getting better with each rep."

As much as Taylor believes he's ready to get back on the field for Sunday's game, he realizes that Belichick is going to make the right decision, either way. But he does believe he's convinced enough people.

"I'm just going to sit back, hit my knees, say a little prayer, and hopefully I can sway coach to be willing to take a shot with me for Sunday," said Taylor. "But I'll be patient to see. Whatever's best for the team, I'm all about that.

"I thought I showed some glimpses last week, where I could have mixed it up in certain situations. The same this week. But it's not my call. We'll see. We'll just wait on Sunday and see. I don't want to go one way or the other with this. But I had a pretty solid week, and we'll see how it goes."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard

Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14

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Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took to the practice field behind Gillette Stadium on Friday with all but one player. 

Wideout Danny Amendola was the only player not present at the session. Newly-acquired receiver Griff Whalen was present and wearing No. 14. 

Safety Jordan Richards was back on the practice field for the first time since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 12. Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder), Elandon Roberts (hamstring), Eric Rowe (hamstring) and Matthew Slater (foot) were all limited in practice on Thursday, but were on the field Friday.

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.”