All's quiet on the northern front...

Mike Petraglia
November 19, 2008 - 6:48 am
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Consider these the Dog Days of the NFL season. Players are beat up and coaches are tired. Anyone with a mathematical chance of playing in January is doing whatever is necessary to carry themselves into the final month of the season. And in Foxboro - more specifically the Patriots locker room, there's something else in the air. Quiet. Only a handful of players spoke on Wednesday, which is usually a heavy volume day when it comes to players talking about the upcoming game. Wes Welker, Pierre Woods and Mike Wright were among those to talk. This is not meant as criticism but merely fact. As players get extra treatment in the hot tub and coaches hold position meetings, we, the media hordes, usually wait around in the locker room for player availability. It just so happened that on this Wednesday, one could not escape the unmistakeable 'bunker mentality' feel. That feel may come from the knowledge that the players realize their season could very well be on the line this Sunday in South Florida against the Dolphins. It could also be that none of them want to waste time adding to the silly 'Joey Porter gets no love from the Patriots' theme that has been dialed up by none other than Peezie himself. (credit Brandon Marshall with that one) or it could just be that they don't want to have to answer another question about 'Wildcat' football unless it's Tedy Bruschi talking about his alma mater. Speaking of college pride, the Patriots locker room boasts two proud Texas Tech alums, running back Sammy Morris and wide receiver Wes Welker, who was wearing a nifty-looking Red Raiders skull cap as he prepared to go out to practice. As we were struggling to find new and different questions about the Dolphins, Welker even did us the favor of asking, "No questions about my hat? How about the Red Raiders?!" He had these words of encouragement for his No. 2 Red Raiders as they play at No. 5 Oklahoma on Saturday. "This is going to be a tough game for us, with Tech going into Norman (Oklahoma), it's going to be a tough one. We're excited and I know all the fans are excited and everyone I've been talking to back in Oklahoma and Texas are really excited. We're going to have to bring out best game to match up against them. They're playing some good ball right now." Asked which game is more important to him, he didn't hesitate. "That goes without saying. I definitely have to take care of my end. I'm just a fan now, just a proud alum now."