After his first day back in the NFL, you might expect Junior Seauto be pretty sore.
Not this 40-year old.
"It was fine," he said Thursday of his first practice since rejoining the Patriots. "Going out there and taking steps, getting in the right position, making calls here and there. It was fun. I'm a little sluggish. There are some things I could do better, but for the first day, it went well."
The question now is, will be shake off the sluggishness to be ready to play on Sunday, if called on?
"There's no choice. I've got to be ready on Sunday," he insisted.
At the same time, he claimed he's only focused on today.
"There's obviously a progression, and the progression's taking place one day at a time.
I'm not even looking that far. I'm looking to build myself into the best player I can be today. It's one day at a time. Right now, I have to insert myself into being the player that I can be and build that into shape. My role is to help this team win."
"I'm happy to see him," said nose tackle and co-captain Vince Wilfork. "He's been doing this a long time and still has a motor to him. I think a lot of guys can learn from a guy like that. Come to work prepared every day, ready to work, on and off [the field]. Great guy, a lot of leadership he brings with him also. I've been here six years, and three of them I've had the chance to play with Junior. It's exciting for me and hopefully exciting for this defense to have a guy like that."
Nose to the grindstone
So, what's it going to take for the Patriots defense to stop Titans running back Chris Johnson, perhaps the only weapon Tennessee can consistently rely on this season?
"Tough one ... When he has the ball in his hands, everyone's at the point of attack," said Wilfork.
Despite their winless record, Wilfork insists the Pats can't take Tennessee for granted.
"They have a good offensive line, good receivers – big receivers – good quarterback. Between Johnson and [running back LenDale] White, and their backup quarterback [Vince] Young, they have a lot of power," Wilfork contended.
"It's going to be tough, but you know what, we have to play, we have to step up. And they're way better than 0-5. That's one thing we try to stress around here. This was a playoff team last year, one of the toughest teams in the league last year. And most of the guys came back. We have to look past that 0-5 [record] and look at what they're doing on film. There are a lot of good things that they do and also some things that we can take advantage of. But we can't look past these guys. This football team shouldn't be 0-5."
Thursday locker room/practice notes
WR Randy Moss(not injury related) and DL Ty Warren(calf) returned to the practice field after missing Wednesday's session. RB Fred Taylorand LT Matt Lightwere out again, however, with ankle and knee injuries, respectively.
The Patriots wore full pads at practice and started things off with the kickoff return team, which is normally a Friday staple.