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New England at N.Y. Jets

Wilfork pushes forward

He will not talk about the past

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / November 11, 2011

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PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

FOXBOROUGH - There’s no telling how he truly felt about Albert Haynesworth, who was released by the Patriots Tuesday and picked up the next day by the Buccaneers, but Vince Wilfork did not wax poetic about Haynesworth’s departure.

When asked yesterday if he was ever on board with the trade for Haynesworth, who was limited to three tackles in six games, Wilfork brushed off the question. Instead, the defensive tackle shifted the focus to Sunday’s showdown against the Jets.

“That’s in the past,’’ Wilfork said. “The Giants are in the past. The Jets’ last game is in the past. We’re just trying to move forward right now as a team.

“That’s the best thing we can do at this point - move forward, get better as a team, and play better.’’

Minus Haynesworth, an opportunity seems to present itself for some of the younger players in the defensive line rotation: Kyle Love, Brandon Deaderick, and Ron Brace.

“They’re getting there,’’ Wilfork said. “I think Kyle all season, and even last year, he saw a lot of playing time, just because of the injuries we had. The rest of those guys coming in, it’s all timing. Once you get caught up with the speed and the timing of everything, then you start being more effective.’’

Looking to snap a two-game losing streak, Wilfork knows the Patriots are entering a critical stage.

“We have to be able to win ballgames in November and December to be a good football team,’’ he said. “Good football teams find a way to win. We have to play better in November and December to set ourselves up to where we want to be. It’s like we’re starting 0-0 right now.’’

Be prepared

With Kevin Faulk inactive for last Sunday’s game against the Giants, Stevan Ridley figured to get a few more touches. But the rookie running back had only three carries for 10 yards.

So, with Faulk (knee) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe) limited in practice for the second day in a row, Ridley felt he was in no position to predict how much work he’d get against the Jets.

“Coming around here, you never know,’’ said Ridley. “It’s not my job to figure it out. I just know when they call [No.] 22 on the field, I’m going to go out there and do the best I can.

“[The reps have] been up and down, but that’s part of football, that’s part of growing, and that’s part of maturing. I just have to go out there and be a team player. I think if I do that, that’s the quickest way for me to get on the field and see all the reps I want.’’

Ridley’s best performance came in a 31-19 victory at Oakland Oct. 2, when he rushed 10 times for 97 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown.

“This job is a hard job,’’ said Ridley. “As a player you can fall into that if you want to, but that’s really going to put you behind as a person,’’ Ridley said. “I’m not going to fall into the trap that the reps are up and down. I’m just going to take advantage of every opportunity.’’

Bodden has surgery

Former Patriots cornerback Leigh Bodden underwent back surgery yesterday, agent Alvin Keels announced via Twitter.

“Leigh Bodden had successful surgery this morning to correct a herniated disk in his lower back that he injured Week 1 against the Dolphins. It was a routine operation and he is expected to make a full recovery. No timetable has been set yet for his recovery. The injury is not career-threatening, however he could not play any longer this season without getting the condition corrected by surgery,’’ Keels wrote.

Bodden was listed as probable by the Patriots with a back injury for the Week 2 game against the Chargers, but that was the only time he was on the injury list because of his back; he had been listed with hand and groin injuries. The veteran was released Oct. 28.

On the day he was released, Keels said Bodden was “totally healthy.’’

Opportune time

With Patrick Chung (foot) missing practice for the second day in a row, and Josh Barrett having been placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a calf injury, James Ihedigbo looks to be in line for significant playing time at safety, along with Sergio Brown and Sterling Moore, a rookie free agent who was signed to the 53-man roster Wednesday. “Injuries are part of the game,’’ said Ihedigbo, who played for the Jets last season. “When your number is called, you have to know what you’re supposed to be doing and be out there executing and communicating well with the other guys. If it’s me, and I have to step up in a greater role, then I’ll do that.’’ . . . Linebackers Dane Fletcher (thumb) and Brandon Spikes (knee), and offensive lineman Ryan Wendell (concussion) also missed practice for the second day. The same nine players who were limited in Wednesday’s practice were listed as limited yesterday: cornerback Kyle Arrington (foot), defensive end Shaun Ellis (rib), linebackers Gary Guyton (shoulder) and Jerod Mayo (knee), receivers Wes Welker (rib) and Taylor Price (hamstring), tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back), and Faulk and Green-Ellis.

Monique Walker of the Globe staff contributed to this report; Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

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