An ankle injury has sidelined defensive lineman Ty Warrenrecently, but he said today that he'll be a factor in this weekend's Wild Card playoff contest versus the Baltimore Ravens.
Warren also expressed confidence that nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who's missed the past three games with a foot injury, would return to action.
"I know I'm close this week ... Yeah, I'll be ready to go, barring something that happens that I don't know.
"Every physical body you can get out there is good," Warren added. "I know I can contribute, just like Vince will, and everybody else that's coming back healthy. I'm looking to contribute in a major way."
It will be imperative for Warren and Wilfork to get back in the lineup against a Ravens offense that features Pro Bowl running back Ray Riceand dangerous backup Willis McGahee, who had a career day against the Raiders last weekend.
"He's definitely a threat," Warren said of Rice. "Him, McGahee, they like to use those guys a lot, and that's definitely a strength of their team. The way they've utilized [Rice] coming out of the backfield [as a receiver], what he's able to do in the running game, we just have to try to contain him."
The Patriots barely held on for a win against Baltimore at Gillette Stadium in Week 4 of this season, but Warren insisted that his film study will focus more on how the Ravens have played since then.
"I know it was a game that went down to the wire, the last seconds of the game … they definitely played us tough at home last time. With there being a lot on the line, I'm sure they'll do the same this time.
"You can get something from the first time we played them, but you can learn more from 15 games than three games … the three games we saw prior to playing them in Week 4. There's a lot more to be learned from those other 15 games than our one game."
Tuesday locker room notebook
Having just surrendered yet another loss on the road by squandering a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, cornerback Shawn Springs was asked if he and his defensive teammates are playing their best football as the playoffs begin.
"I don't know about that," he chuckled in reply. "I think we can continue to get better."
Defensive coordinator Dean Peesis back in Foxborough after having an extended stay in Houston for medical reasons. He was taken to the hospital during the third quarter of Sunday's game after complaining of shortness of breath. But he passed a battery of tests and was cleared by doctors to return home.
"He's doing fine," Warren told reporters. "I asked him how he was doing, and he's doing fine."
This being a rare work day for the players on a Tuesday, head coach Bill Belichickexplained the change in schedule, saying he and his staff made the decision a week ago, before the trip to Texas, because they didn't know at the time if they'd be playing this Saturday or Sunday of Wild Card Weekend.
"We're going to have an extra day [to prepare] compared to a Saturday game," Belichick said. "But if we played on Saturday, we'd have done the same thing today. We felt like that was the easiest thing just to know exactly where we're going to be moving forward.
"[The players] are in, working out," he continued. "We're going to go through some scouting report stuff, get a jump on the Ravens, so we'll be a little further ahead than we usually are on Tuesday. We're not really going to spend a lot of time on the Houston game. We're more looking forward to Baltimore than we are on Monday reviewing the previous game. There are some corrections – a couple things we need to talk about – but we're much more focused on going forward than looking back."
The Patriots have a normal practice schedule the remainder of the week.