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Quick Kicks: Thu. 10-27 Practice/Locker Room Notebook — UPDATED

Erik Scalavino offers his Thursday locker room notes as the Patriots prepare to play the Pittsburgh Steelers.

… A steady rain forced the Patriots to move their practice inside the Dana-Farber Field House today. The team was in helmets, shorts, and shells for the workout.

… Linebacker Dane Fletcher (thumb) remains absent from practice. He was joined today by rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling (hip), who was limited in yesterday's action.

… One concern the Patriots might have in Pittsburgh this week is the footing at Heinz Field. The stadium, one of a shrinking number which still has a natural grass surface, hosted a college football game last night, and there could be inclement weather in the forecast right up until Sunday's kickoff. Co-captain Vince Wilfork addressed that topic today with reporters. "I love grass fields. I really do love grass fields," he proclaimed, "but it can get a little crazy at Heinz Field. But that's the last of our worries. Trust me, they'll be playing on the same surface. What affects us, it affects them, too. I'm really not concerned about the footing. I'm just concerned about going out here and being able to play a good solid football game and help this ballclub win, which is going to be tough, going into Pittsburgh. They don't lose much there. I'm pretty sure everything is going to be black and gold and they're going to be ready for us. Our goal is to go into Pittsburgh and play a pretty good football game."

… Right guard Brian Waters commented on the Steelers' defense, which has been without the services of outside linebacker James Harrison. "He's definitely a great football player, but you can tell that some of the other guys they've put in there kind of fall into that same mold," Waters observed. "[Lawrence] Timmons has been in there a lot, and one thing about him, he's a very good athlete and very good in pass coverage. He has a little different dimension than James does. I'm sure they miss [Harrison], but you really can't tell the way they've performed on the football field."

… Defensive lineman Shaun Ellis remarked on the difficulty of containing Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger. "He does a great job of keeping plays alive and moving around in the pocket and finding open guys. We just have to get him on the ground, try to go for the kill shot, just grab his arm."

… I'll update today's injury news right here on the blog around 4 p.m. Eastern.

UPDATE … 4:05 p.m.

Fletcher and Dowling missed all of today's practice. The other six players listed on yesterday's report as limited were in the same category today.

On the Steelers' side, wide receiver Hines Ward missed his second straight practice with an ankle injury.

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