Warren’s week off made him stronger
Ankle can’t keep him from Miami
FOXBOROUGH - The bye week was more than a few days off for Patriots defensive end Ty Warren.
The week before in London, he hobbled off the field at Wembley Stadium in the final seconds of the third quarter, gently favoring his ankle. Although he was carted off to the locker room, he didn’t fear a major injury as he thought it was more of a nuisance.
“I don’t know how bad it looked,’’ Warren said of the injury, but “it’s manageable.’’
Warren described having an off week as “huge’’ as he rested his ankle. He returned to practice this week, having limited participation for the first time yesterday. Warren said he didn’t need much time to get back into his routine.
“When you look at the bye week, and the fact it was only two practices last week, it wasn’t like I was out for a month or anything like that,’’ he said. “So I’m back in the swing of things.’’
So how’s the ankle? “You see me right now, I’m vertical,’’ he said with a laugh.
Any sign he can play Sunday against Miami without being slowed would be a good. The Patriots will be without defensive end Jarvis Green, who underwent arthroscopic surgery last week on his knee. Green could be back as soon as next week for the trip to Indianapolis.
Green became a starter following the trade of Richard Seymour, and he has contributed as a situational pass rusher. Without Green, there will be something missing.
“It affects it a lot,’’ Warren said. “Jarvis brings definitely a pass-rushing mentality to the front. There’s definitely a void with that with him being out for a little bit.’’
Warren, playing in his seventh year, said the unit has survived the occasional injuries by sticking to “team defense.’’ When the Patriots began the season, the defense was one of the team’s question marks. Seymour and Mike Vrabel had been traded and Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison had retired. But the defense has proved to be deep and has acquitted itself well thus far.
While the Patriots’ offense attracted most of the attention with a 59-0 win against Tennessee and a 35-7 victory against Tampa Bay, the defense also gathered a boost from the performances.
“I think it’s natural for people to kind of question when certain guys have been out and you have a group of young guys that people haven’t seen play that much,’’ Warren said.
No matter who is available each week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said each player has to be able to fill in just in case.
“Each week, we look at what the other team does, look at what our options are, and try to put the best thing out there,’’ Belichick said. “We don’t really talk about, if so and so was able to play, instead of running this we would run that. What’s the point? We skip over that.’’
Earlier this week, defensive end Mike Wright described himself as a utility player prepared to move in where necessary. He has backed up Green and has taken a few snaps on the right side.
“Mike is doing a good job, and he’s proven that these first seven weeks, so we feel confident with Mike in there,’’ Warren said.
If ever there was a week the Patriots’ defense would be under a microscope, this is it. The Dolphins unveiled the Wildcat against the Patriots last year and have continued to utilize the formation this season with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams handling the rushing duties.
“We’re going to have to tackle,’’ said Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork. “They do a lot of good things well. We’re going to have our mind right. I think we understand how we want to play this game. They know exactly how they want to play this game. On Sunday, you’re going to see a big-time atmosphere. We’re looking forward to it. I’m sure they’re looking forward to it.’’
Monique Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.