When last we saw Vince Wilfork, the Patriots nose tackle was hobbling off the Gillette Stadium field this past Sunday with a foot injury. He had gotten hurt a few plays earlier, came back into the game, but appeared to aggravate the problem and tossed his helmet aside in apparent resignation to the fact that his day was over.
When asked about his injured defensive line mate today, Ty Warrensaid Wilfork would be "all right," but then elaborated when asked if he meant Wilfork would be a go this weekend in Buffalo.
"I'm not saying he'll be all right for the game. I'm just saying, his demeanor and the way he handles himself professionally, he'll be all right either way it goes. I'm not predicting if he'll be up for the game or not."
Warren was willing, however, to go along with the idea that Wilfork has played at a Pro Bowl level this season. Fans appear to have taken note as well, given the high number of votes he's received for the all-star game.
"Rightfully so, rightfully so," said Warren. "He means a lot to this defense. Obviously, the nose tackle position is a really important position on this defense. He's been playing well all year, so, rightfully so."
Brady defends Moss
After his performance against Carolina, WR Randy Mosshas taken a lot of heat in the media, particularly from some former players like Jerry Riceand Cris Carter. But Moss' fellow Patriots captain, QB Tom Brady, leapt to the receiver's defense at his mid-week press conference.
"I mean, he's a great competitor. He works extremely hard. He's a huge part of this team," Brady said of Moss, "and [the critics] don't break down all the film, and see what we see and what the other team is trying to do game-plan wise. Randy is a great part of this team. He's a leader. He's a captain. He's a great teammate for all of us. You're not going to find anybody in that locker room that doesn't enjoy being around him. I love playing with the guy.
"He's made catch after catch this season, last season, the season before [that] really no other player in the league could make. I know everyone wants to criticize all of us when we don't do well or we don't play our best and we're OK with that. That's just part of the job description, so to speak."
Brady went on to praise Moss' preparation and dedication to the game, and explained that sometimes, Moss may appear not to be involved in a play, but that's not necessarily the case.
"He's a very smart player. He recognized coverages. I think sometimes he knows when he probably won't get the ball and those are probably the ones they focus on on TV, which he probably won't, based on the coverage or based on that week of practice. I think that's a decision … I don't think any of us go, 'OK, when you're triple covered, this is the one you've really got to…' I think sometimes the cameras focus on him at that time and go, 'Look, this is not really right,' but I'm sure you can go through a lot of players in the league and do that.
"And Randy's there - and believe me," Brady emphasized, "I have so much confidence in him; that's why he keeps getting the ball. That's why we go to him in the most critical situations, because he's one of our very best players. Like I said, I've always enjoyed our relationship and we're all in this together and we all just keep fighting through whatever adversities we face, as individuals and as a team."
Wednesday locker room/practice notes
Brady and Moss among the four players who were not at practice this afternoon. This, after head coach Bill Belichickacknowledged that his quarterback was a game-time decision this past Sunday due to rib, finger, and shoulder problems.
Moss often takes Wednesdays off for non-injury reasons, as was the case again today, but Wilfork and Warren are battling foot injuries, which would explain their absences.
With possible snowfall predicted for Sunday's game in Buffalo, the Patriots took their Wednesday practice outside on a sunny, but frigid day in Foxborough. The team wore helmets, shells, and sweats for the workout.