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Patriots notebook

Pryor working his way back

Health has stood in lineman’s way

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / August 27, 2011

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DETROIT - The Patriots are stocked with defensive linemen, but Myron Pryor is working to emerge as a player the team can’t live without.

But the only way for Pryor to show that is to stay healthy, which was a challenge for him last year. Pryor, who is entering his third season, said he feels like a “well-oiled machine.’’

“For the most part, it’s just trying to stay healthy and stay on the field as much as possible,’’ Pryor said. “With everything else, I think I’m kind of comfortable now, but at the same time I still have some work to do. The biggest thing is you play half a season and something happens. I think if I’m able to stay on the field consistently, then my game will get better as the year goes along.’’

Last season, Pryor missed seven games, primarily because of a nagging back injury. Pryor was able to return for the regular-season finale, but was unable to play in the playoffs.

The struggles continued as Pryor entered the preseason with an undisclosed injury and was unable to practice until Aug. 4. But since his return, Pryor said that he hasn’t felt any limitations.

Pryor played in the second preseason game against the Buccaneers and is hopeful to get a few snaps tonight against the Lions.

Pryor, 25, played nine games last season and collected 12 tackles. In his rookie season, he played in 13 games and had 20 tackles. The two years have helped Pryor feel more comfortable in what he can provide the Patriots.

“So far, I think things have been OK,’’ Pryor said. “I’m just getting better as I go. All I can do is keep my head up and pray and hopefully this body and well-oiled machine is good to go.’’

Storm watch The Patriots arrived in Detroit last night without incident. On Thursday, coach Bill Belichick said they would be keeping an eye on the storm and hope to return before it hits New England.

Receiver Deion Branch said he was more concerned about his family’s safety as the storm approaches.

“It’s going to be hard with us leaving our families, and trying to get back once the game is over,’’ Branch said. “Those are things we think about, most importantly our families.’’

Tackling job Linebacker Ricky Brown, who played five seasons with the Raiders, said he is digesting the Patriots’ playbook as best he can. Brown, who played at Boston College, joined the Patriots Aug. 20 and might get his first opportunity to play tonight.

“Defense is defense but the terminologies are [different], but that’s why you’re here and why you’re working and in the playbook trying to get better,’’ he said.

In his return to New England, Brown said he has been welcomed with open arms.

“I’ve been getting a lot of nice text messages from friends in college, so it’s nice to be back on the East Coast again,’’ he said.

Snap judgments Left tackle Matt Light might make his preseason debut tonight. He was at practice every day this week and hasn’t been limited. Belichick said Thursday that if Light is ready, “I think he will be playing.’’ . . . Safety James Sanders, who has been in and out of practices during the preseason, made the trip and may also make his preseason debut. . . Defensive linemen Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth are doubtful to play.

Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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