Coming off their bye week, the Patriots are clearly rested and refreshed as they prepare to host the Miami Dolphins in an AFC East division battle this Sunday.
But could New England's secondary have an extra week off, given how much the Dolphins run the football?
"A little bit," a laughing Leigh Boddensaid, playing along with a reporter's facetious question.
In all seriousness, however, Bodden realizes that, even as a cornerback, he may be expected to pull his weight as a run-stuffer against the Wildcat-loving Dolphins. Especially with running backs like Ronnie Brownand Ricky Williams, who have the speed and power to turn and inside handoff into an outside cut. Bodden and the rest of the Pats defensive backfield will need to be on alert and set the edge when Miami runs the football.
"It's definitely key, because they like to get outside and they have the speed to get outside. It's kind of difficult, but you need to set the edge against this team," Bodden asserted.
"Obviously, in the secondary, you have to worry about the pass first and let the guys up front worry about the run. But sometimes you have to go up and force it. You just have to look for the running backs. Who has the ball. They do a lot of fakes and pull a lot of people, so, you have to see where the ball is and just try to get to it."
When the Dolphins do throw, with second-year QB Chad Henne, Bodden has been impressed with the Michigan grad's ability, but is prepared to handle the young signal caller.
"He's pretty accurate, but like any quarterback, if you get pressure, you'll force him to make bad throws into tight coverage. We have to keep the pressure on and play tight coverage and I think we'll be fine."
Overall, Bodden praised Miami's unconventional, unpredictable offense.
"A lot of speed, a lot of versatility to their offense, running and passing ... You have to be ready for anything – the run, the pass, different types of formations. They throw a lot of different things at you.
"I'm sure they're going to have a lot of new things," he added. "We're just going to have to adjust to it during the game and go from there."
Wilfork on the Wildcat
Co-captain Vince Wilfork paid a late visit to his locker today, but managed to squeeze in a few minutes with the media.
He was first asked about the short-term loss of his defensive line mate, Jarvis Greenand whether that puts an increased pressure on the d-line to perform against Miami's run-first offense.
"We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, just to be accountable," he replied. "When you step on the field, you want to make sure you play at a high level. And this week is a challenge. The Dolphins run the ball well, they have a real explosive offense, good offensive line, good backs, a quarterback who doesn't make mistakes. So, we need to do a good job of controlling the game up front.
"They'll do what they do. They want to run the football. That's a challenge for us up front. If we don't have our minds right, it's going to be a long day for us again. It's another division game, and we want to get out of it with a win."
Wilfork remembers the sting of being caught off-guard by the Dolphins' Wildcat unveiling last season in Week 3 here at Foxborough, but also New England's subsequent thrashing of the Fins down in Miami later that year. The Pats nose tackle insists his team will be ready for whatever wrinkles their opponents might add this week.
"The first game it was shocking because we really didn't know what they were doing," he recalled. "We tried to make adjustments, but it didn't happen. The second time around, I think we had it under control. We have to do a really good job again this game. I'm pretty sure there's going to be some different version to it that we haven't seen."
Wednesday locker room/practice notes
Special teams co-captain Sam Aikenbriefly chatted with reporters about Miami's Ted Ginn Jr., who scored 12 of Miami's points last week by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns. "That guy's fast," Aiken observed. "That's something we definitely need to keep in mind."
The Patriots once again practiced in full pads, outside on their training camp fields behind Gillette. LB Adalius Thomaswas back out there after missing Tuesday's session, but the remaining absentees from yesterday were not there today either:
rookie WR Julian Edelman, RBs Fred Taylorand Sammy Morris, CB Jonathan Wilhite, Green, and LT Matt Light.
For unknown reasons, CB Shawn Springswas wearing Wilhite's number 24 jersey at practice today.