The new year got off to a good start for safety Devin McCourty (concussion), who practiced for the first time since being injured at Baltimore in Week 16.
After practice, the co-captain told reporters he was "feeling all right… doing pretty good" following his first-ever diagnosed concussion.
"I'm just taking it one day at a time," McCourty continued. "It's always good to be back on the field if you miss any time. I'm just happy to be back on the field."
Four other Patriots were unable to go, however, including co-captain and newly minted Pro Bowler Logan Mankins. The left guard suffered a left ankle injury against Buffalo, but was able to return to the game a short time later. He was not in the game for the final five minutes, though, and had to watch from the sideline.
In addition to Mankins, starting cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (knee/shoulder) didn't practice, but he was seen in the locker room later. Rookie receivers Aaron Dobson, who aggravated his left foot injury in the Bills game, and Josh Boyce (left ankle), who hasn't played or practiced since getting hurt in Miami Week 15, also sat out today's session.
The veteran McCourty admitted that it was tough to be inactive for the regular season finale against Buffalo, but added that "it's part of the game. I tried to do my part to help my guys out. They did a great job going out there and getting a win."
That win secured New England's bye week in the first round of the playoffs. This week's practices, therefore, are being used mostly to correct flaws that the team has in all three phases, because their next opponent won't be known until this weekend's Wild Card games end.
"We understand that we have to be mentally tough for the postseason, we have to be mentally tough this week – no opponent, get better on the field," continued McCourty. "We had a good practice today. It's all about getting a good day's work in tomorrow, too."
The Patriots are currently scheduled to practice on Thursday and Friday before having the weekend off.