Adalius Thomashas been watching a lot of film of the Buffalo Bills this week – an opponent that has gone into a recent free-fall after starting the season off strong.
"Very explosive team, playing very well," Thomas countered when asked about the Bills Thursday.
In particular, he praised two of Buffalo's second-year starters: running back Marshawn Lynch(a "physical, hard-running" guy) and QB Trent Edwards.
"I think he's just more comfortable with the offense," Thomas said of the latter. "And he gets the ball to Lynch. You know, 'I'm in trouble … give it to Lynch.' That's his outlet. He's being smart with it, taking what the defense gives him, and not trying to force balls in there. When you do that, good things come of it."
Young quarterbacks, according to Thomas, sometimes can't help but get greedy when they're having some success. But he said Edwards is showing good patience with the reins of Buffalo's offense.
Thomas said the key will be for him and his teammates in the Pats front seven to get pressure on Edwards this Sunday in Foxborough. But getting past Buffalo's enormous offensive line will be difficult.
"Gotta win it up front," he said. "They're big guys. It'll be a challenge. We'll have to be strict in our technique, not be sloppy with that. Try to stand in there and stand up to those guys. Whether it's the running game or the passing game, we have to rely on our technique."
The last time these two teams faced each other, New England throttled the Bills 56-10 in Buffalo last season. Might there be some added motivation on the visiting sideline this weekend?
"I think a lot of guys have hopefully learned what they are going to learn from that game and moved on," Edwards observed during a conference call with the New England media corps this week.
"Last year they threw all over us and we didn't get much going on offense either. They made a couple of big plays and that was an impressive football team last year. I watched them in the Super Bowl, too. I was very impressed with the way they played last year and even this year. They are playing well without Tom [Brady] in there and I really have a lot of respect for the way that they've been playing so far."
Thomas agreed that last season's result will have no effect on Sunday's contest.
"Last year has nothing to do with this year," he asserted. "It's a totally different team. Things have changed. But they have good receivers, good running backs, a good offensive line, and they're playing well right now."
Towards the end of his Q&A session, Thomas was asked by a reporter what jumped out the most from his film study of Buffalo.
He thought for a second before responding, "I'm not gonna tell you …"
The good-natured reply drew laughter from the entire group.
Edwards, Cassel share a bond
There are some similarities between Edwards and Patriots QB Matt Cassel, as the media pointed out to the two players this week. The obvious one being that both got their chances to start when the incumbent signal-caller on their respective teams got injured.
Coincidentally, Edwards got his first shot at significant playing time last year during a loss here in Foxborough after then-starter J.P. Losmaninjured a knee.
"He has done a great job," Cassel said of his counterpart. "He has won a lot of games out there and continues to progress. Even from last year, I think his first playing time was against us and I thought he did a great job last year. He continues to get better and I have always been impressed with the way Trent has played."
Edwards also admired Cassel for the way he's performed in the wake of Brady's season-ending injury.
"It's tough. You sit there and you're the backup for quite sometime and you have a starter in front of you that you're trying to learn from and you don't get a lot of reps in practice. Then all of a sudden you're thrown into the fire and expected to play at a high level.
"It's one thing to sit there and watch and go through mental reps it's another thing to actually go through and make those mistakes. It's tough to do," Edwards continued. "There aren't really a lot of guys that can jump in there and play at a high level but I've been pretty impressed with Cassel."
Injured running back Sammy Morris, who's missed the past couple of games, was seen walking through the locker room on Thursday. He appeared to walk normally and didn't show any noticeable signs of the knee injury that has kept him on the sidelines recently.
Thursday practice notes
Running back LaMont Jordanwas not present at the start of practice, which was held indoors today due to the inclement New England weather. Jordan took part in portions of practice on Wednesday.
Defensive backs Lewis Sandersand Terrence Wheatley, along with Morris, were the only other Patriots not in attendance at the start of Thursday's practice.