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Patriots.com News Blitz - 1/6/2012

Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald writes about Robert Kraft's new way to help the Patriots win. With the Patriots trailing 21-0 to Buffalo last weekend, Patriots Chairman and CEO looked at his long time assistant and said, "Al, go put that picture in the locker room." The picture Kraft was referring to was the painting honoring his late wife Myra Kraft from a local artist that led to an emotional postgame ceremony on Christmas Eve day. "From the moment it went in," said Kraft, "(Buffalo) didn't score a point and we scored 49 points. So I don't know. I know that winning requires good execution, but I just believe, I just believe . . ." Kraft paused. He broke up for a moment, took a deep breath, and then continued talking. "I just believe she was smiling," he said. "It was . . . it was right after her birthday. I miss her," he added. "I miss her greatly. I never understood what the term 'broken heart' meant. But I do understand it now."

Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe writes about Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien being hired as the new Penn State head football coach yesterday. The 42 year-old O'Brien accepted the job late yesterday after interviewing with the college all day. O'Brien was hired as an offensive assistant in 2007 and was promoted to offensive coordinator last February.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald writes about the secret training method that has allowed nose tackle Vince Wilfork to play a career high amount of snaps this year. "That's been my secret — swimming," Wilfork said. "As far as playing, that sent me to a whole 'nother level. Swimming." The 325-plus pound Wilfork played in 978 snaps this year, 86.2 percent of all the Patriots defensive snaps. "You getting some good work without having to beat your body up," said Wilfork, who does the routine every night in the offseason. "I could tell the difference when I was in training camp. In training camp, you normally have those days when you're like, 'Man, I'm so tired.' But I really didn't have those days. Eventually, you'll get 'em just because you're going and going. But it didn't happen as quick. And then your recovery is a lot faster."

Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe writes about recent comments from Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes. The often unseen linebacker broke his long silence yesterday after returning from a knee injury last week. "I feel like I was just OK,'' Spikes said of his first two years in the NFL. "Me, personally, I always want to just 'ball out' - that's the word I use for it, just 'balling.' Obviously, this is the NFL and there's going to be some ups and downs, but I just feel like I haven't played my best game yet. I'm just striving to do that.''

Jeff Howe of NESN.com writes about how Patriots players are feeling during their bye week preparation. "[It's been] very productive, and I'm happy about it," safety James Ihedigbo said. "A lot of guys are happy about the things that we've done so far this week. It's only going to help us in the long run." That feeling is wide spread throughout the locker room. "Thank God we took advantage of the opportunity during the regular season for us to have the opportunity to focus on our flaws and stuff," wide receiver Deion Branch said. "Some teams going into the playoffs, they have to just continue to work forward and put stuff together as it goes. We have the opportunity to try to make our team a lot better than we are right now."

Christopher Price of WEEI.com writes about the experience that Patriots veteran players bring when it comes to playoff games. "Honestly, prepare for the game like it's a regular game you're trying to win," Chung said when asked about advice for rookies. "You can't get too hyped about it because if you get too hyped you might get too antsy, and then you never know what might happen."

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