There's a hand-made sign – black letters on a white sheet of paper – hanging in Vince Wilfork'slocker.
"Do My Job," it reads.
Wednesday, the Pats nose tackle and co-captain explained that it has become a mantra for him since the team returned from a Week 2 loss to the Jets. Wilfork, who's in the final year of his current Patriots contract, said he wanted to remind himself at all times what's most important.
"It's easy to come in and forget what you're here for. A lot of things going on earlier with me and with my contract, that was one thing I wanted to make clear to myself. So every time I come to my locker, I remind myself what I'm here for. That's to do my job. I have to sit at this locker every day, so I have to see that every day. Every time I see that, it reminds me what I'm doing, why I'm here, it makes me get in my playbook even more.
"If I put it in my playbook, I won't ever see it there," he continued. "Where can I put it so I see it every day? My locker. I see every day, some times too much. Even if I don't stop at my locker, I walk by and see it."
The tactic seems to be having an effect on some of Wilfork's teammates, too, not unlike when Adalius Thomas' Humble Pie t-shirts became popular in 2007.
"I'm pretty sure a lot of guys on the team see it, too," Wilfork said of his sign. "They say stuff about it. It just reminds me why I'm here, and that might be rubbing off on some of the other guys. Do your job. It's gonna stay there, long as I'm here."
How long he remains here is still a pertinent question, since Wilfork has yet to sign an extension with the Pats. Aside from a brief holdout during spring practices, however, Wilfork has been committed to fulfilling his current deal.
Low-key Ingram taking his job seriously
Hawai'i resident Jake Ingramcan literally count on one hand the number of times he's seen snow in person.
One of those occasions was just last month, when the Pats hosted the Tennessee Titans on what turned out to be a snow-covered Gillette Stadium surface during a rare October storm.
But New England's rookie long snapper handled the elements with aplomb.
"You know, I just kind of adjusted as the game went on," he said outside the Patriots locker room Wednesday. "I just figured it out, and I think that's what you have to do, whether it's rain, wind, snow. You just have to be able to adjust and deal with it."
Having taken over for legendary Lonie Paxton at a position that doesn't typically command the spotlight, Ingram is doing his best not to draw attention to himself on the field by making all his extra point, field goal, and punt snaps without mishandling the football. His consistency has allowed kicker Stephen Gostkowski and punter Chris Hanson to do their jobs without trepidation.
At the midway point of his rookie season, Ingram has noticed a stark difference between the pro and college games – namely, that football truly is a profession that requires a great deal of study and commitment. That, he said, has been the biggest surprise.
"Just knowing the different things you need to know, as far as, 'Who's on the other side of [the ball from] you?' 'What kind of player is he?' 'What does he do best?' Stuff like that. Whereas in college, you just line up and, 'Block this guy.' Here, it really is more of a profession. And I enjoy it.
"It's just a total learning experience for me, so far," he added. "A big difference from college to the NFL. There are a lot more things I need to know, a lot more things I need to adjust to, but I'm enjoying it. I just want to keep getting better and keep doing my job."
Wednesday locker room/practice notes
A whopping total of 10 Patriots were not on the field for Wednesday's practice: rookie WRs Julian Edelmanand Brandon Tate, RBs Fred Taylor and *Sammy Morris, S Brandon Meriweather, LB Eric Alexander, C* Dn Koppen, LT *Matt Light, WR Randy Moss *non-injury related) and DL *Jarvis Green.
CB Jonathan Wilhite, who missed all of last week with flu-like symptoms, spoke to reporters before practice and was back in uniform for today's workout, which was conducted outside in shells and sweatpants.
Light was seen walking briefly through the locker room prior to practice, but didn't stop to chat with reporters.