There are certain subjects that players on the Patriots like to avoid.
The release of a teammate is one.
So, naturally, when Brandon Deaderick was asked about the departure of Albert Haynesworth, he bristled.
He looked nervously to his right, then his left, before responding, "That has nothing to do with me."
In actuality, it does, though, because they both play along the defensive line, and in New England's revamped 4-3 scheme, which involves a lot of rotating players, losing just one player could significantly impact the playing time for the rest of them.
Deaderick seemed to concede the point when asked if he viewed his recent elevation from the PUP, along with Ron Brace, as a vote of confidence for the less experienced players on the Patriots' defensive line.
"I look at it as, everybody's here for a reason. They obviously feel that we have what it takes to play here. So, I guess, yes," he answered.
"They put me in there. I've been preparing, whether I play or don't play. It was a good feeling to be out there, and I'm excited about this week."
Deaderick saw his first action of the season in Week 8 at Pittsburgh as a reserve, then started last week's contest versus the New York Giants in place of injured Shaun Ellis at left defensive end.
Having missed the preseason and the first six games of the season, the second-year player from Alabama acknowledged that he is still working to get into game shape.
"I just knew it would take time to get back into it. I've been playing football all my life, basically, so, I just knew it would be a matter of time before I started getting comfortable out there. It's coming along.
"I feel pretty good right now," he added. "It's still a process, a lot of improvements I need to make. I'm just chopping away at it. I think it's going well, I think I'm making progress, but, you know, you can never be satisfied, never get complacent, always strive to do better."
Wilfork a believer
Co-captain Vince Wilfork, the undisputed leader of the defensive line, held court with reporters today and sounded a confident tone about the Patriots going forward, saying he had "faith in this team."
"I really do," he insisted. "I believe all of us are going to come to work and we're going to grind, and grind for one another. When I look at the football team, I see those guys and I'm taking the field with four minutes left and certain situations that we know we have to get the ball back to the offense. Sometimes we've done it, sometimes the offense goes down and scores. We had to stop them and we didn't. Situational football we can always be better at.
"But at the same time, it hasn't been bad. It's not like games we're getting blown out and it's not competitive. It's not like that. It's just small things that lead to big things and I think we need to clean those things up. Everyone understands that."
Trying to solve the Ridle-y
It's been a relatively quiet month for Stevan Ridley. After the rookie running back's breakout performance at Oakland in early October, he's been less of a factor in New England's games since.
But he's not questioning his role.
"Coming around here, man, you never know. That's not my job to try to figure it out," he responded to curious reporters. "I just know that when I'm called on the field, I'm just going to try to do the best that I can.
"[Carries] have been up and down, but that's part of football and it's part of growing and part of maturing. I just have to go out there and do it play to play. I think if I do that, I think that will be the quickest way to get on the field."
For details on today's Patriots practice, please visit the PFW blog.