It's Patriots Week

FLORHAM PARK–Nick Mangold was dressed and participated in individual drills during the 30 minutes the media was at practice. His overall status for practice was “limited.” Mangold said he’s “coming along.” When asked what he thought the chances of his playing on Sunday were, he said, “pretty good. “

Three players did not practice at all, Calvin Pace with an abdominal injury, Garrett McIntyre with a concussion and Plaxico Burress with an elbow injury. Burress fell on his elbow during the game and then in the middle of the night on Tuesday he woke up to find it completely swollen. Ryan said he had the elbow drained, but Burress said he just had some ultrasound on it. It’s safe to say, they’re attending to it.

With the Patriots game on Sunday, you can be sure that they will make sure everyone is as healthy as they possibly can be.

Mark Sanchez came in this week seemingly raring to go. He said they’ve reviewed and corrected the mistakes from Sunday and had a very “positive day.” He added, “I’m really proud of this group.”

As for how he’s able to remain so upbeat, he said, “I get propped up every day from (Mark) Brunell, (Kevin) O’Connell and Coach Cavanaugh.

If you were wondering, the ground and pound is officially back. What seems to have happened is that by adding two new high profile receivers in Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason, there were so many targets they almost didn’t know what to do with everyone. Brian Schottenheimer is of course more partial to the passing game and for a while they deferred to him. However, they’re not winning and Rex Ryan likes to run. So…they’re going to run.

Santonio Holmes made some comments after the game on Sunday that sounded like he was being critical of members of the offense. Today, he tried to clarify those. “I have to do a better job of catching the ball. [Sanchez] has to do a better job of completing passes.”

It’s not been made clear who Darrelle Revis will cover against New England, but he said of Wes Welker, “He’s probably the toughest receiver to cover in the slot.”

Mangold’s injury has exposed, in my humble opinion, some otherwise overlooked weaknesses on the offensive line. Without Mangold to his right, Matt Slauson is just not the same player. It seems clear that his talents may not be of the same level and the team was able to stay solid up front simply because Slauson had help on both sides with Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Brandon Moore is obviously not 100% after his off-season hip surgery, so he is doing all he can to help himself and take care of his own assignments. As for Wayne Hunter, he seems to be improving, but he’s always a risk for a penalty and he’s been inconsistent. With all of that taken into account, Colin Baxter pretty much held his own for a guy who has only been in the system for four weeks.

Bryan Thomas was not around and although he is not yet officially on injured reserve that will come soon. Ropati Pitoitua is coming back from the same injury and has spoken to Thomas about it to try to give him any support he can. Pitoitua told me that the one advantage Thomas will have is there is no lockout. Pitoitua wasn’t allowed to interact with the staff in any way so he had to go out and find his own trainer to help him rehab. Thomas will be able to work with the team’s training staff.

Ryan announced that he is being inducted into the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame. To enhance the occasion he wore a suit jacket, which had been festooned with a paper cutout of the school’s mascot (a bulldog) on the front and the letters “H O F” on the back. All were, of course, in the appropriate blue and white school colors. His brother Rob is being inducted as well.

Ryan pointed out that Sunday’s game now features two Hall of Fame coaches going head to head; Bill Belichick is a member of the Wesleyan University Hall of Fame. He then went off on a tangent about how Belichick also played lacrosse, which Ryan knows nothing about except, “I do like the idea of hitting people with a stick.”

Not really an anecdote, but mildly interesting, Jarron Gilbert was wearing jersey No. 84 today instead of his usual 71.Eighty-four is reserved for receivers and tight ends. Three players told me that they thought Gilbert is being converted or will spend time at both positions (remember he’s on the practice squad). So far, we haven’t gotten confirmation from the team about this.