With Christmas falling on a Friday this year, the Patriots are trying to balance their family commitments with their preparations for this Sunday's game against Jacksonville.
"It will be a normal Wednesday [and] Thursday for us," head coach Bill Belichicktold reporters today, "and kind of a normal Friday, shortened down here a bit, but we'll be here on Friday."
That just comes with the territory of being an NFL player, as some of Belichick's Patriots acknowledged.
"Yeah, for sure. I don't feel like I've really had a Christmas for a long time. Since high school, probably," said WR Wes Welker. "It's nothing new for us. You just kind of roll with it, try and have some quality time with your family, and then move on and get back to work."
"A lot of times, we've traveled on Christmas day, so, it's nothing new," added DL Jarvis Green. "It's work, it's football. It's part of the life. We'll be here for three-and-a-half hours. I don't know what time we're coming in yet, but hopefully, it's later so I have time to open gifts with my kids."
The Patriots realize, though, that the best gift they could receive, work-wise, would be a win this weekend, because it would allow them to clinch the AFC East and at least one home game in the playoffs.
"Yeah, absolutely. Anytime you get an opportunity to clinch the division, it's a key thing. So, we definitely need to come out there and play some good football," Welker remarked. "Obviously, it's very important that we take care of business."
That will involve beating a 7-7 Jaguar team with a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.
"We've got to rush him," Green said of Jags quarterback David Garrard. "It's different than playing a Peyton Manning. He's going to scramble when he has the opportunity. So, you really have to be disciplined. He's like that sixth receiver or third running back. He's very dangerous in everything he does.
"They have a great running back in [Maurice] Jones-Drew, some big linemen up front. We have to hunker down because it's going to be a 60-minute game."
"They've got a lot of good players, especially those two interior linemen," Welker said, praising John Hendersonand rookie Terrance Knighton along the Jaguar defensive line. "They present a lot of problems for us. They've got [Pro Bowler Rashean] Mathis back there, who's been a great corner for a long time. They also have some rookies who are playing really well for them, and as the season goes along, they're playing a lot better. We can't get too [complacent]."
Wednesday locker room/practice notes
QB Tom Brady, WR Randy Moss, and LB Tully Banta-Cainwere the only players who were not at practice this afternoon.
That means DLs Ty Warrenand Vince Wilfork, who missed practice last week, as well as the Buffalo game, were back in uniform with the rest of the team as they worked out on the Gillette Stadium game field in sunny, but below-freezing weather conditions.
The Patriots wore helmets, shells, and sweats for the session.