FOXBOROUGH — It’s hard to imagine Tom Brady playing “Call of Duty” or even the popular “Madden” NFL video game in his spare time. But plenty of his teammates do, and Brady is probably OK with that.
Not this week, though.
The Patriots are cramming a week’s worth of preparation into three days, at best. They beat the Colts Sunday in a game that ended at 7:28 p.m., and play the Jets Thursday at 8:20 p.m., a prime-time Thanksgiving clash that would give the Patriots (7-3) a four-game lead over their rivals with a victory at MetLife Stadium.
So Brady, in his weekly news conference, made sure his teammates understood that a short week is not the time to lose focus.
“We’re just trying to prioritize our time,” Brady said. “We don’t have much of it, so we’ve got to leave tomorrow and hopefully everyone is spending their time wisely, not playing video games and stuff like that.
“It’s a very tough place to play, we’ve always played this team very tough, so it should be a fun night.”
Brady and the Patriots certainly have had fun lately, winning four straight games and scoring 29, 45, 37, and 59 points. It’s a streak that started with an overtime home win over the Jets. Closer than many expected — 29-26 — but not Brady.
“This team makes it tough on you,” he said. “They do quite a few things defensively. They really played us well last time. It certainly wasn’t our best performance out there offensively, so we’ve got a big task.”
Step by step
Tight end Rob Gronkowski paid a short visit to Gillette Stadium Tuesday morning, but his teammates won’t have him on the field for the foreseeable future, an absence that figures to be a closely watched story the next few weeks.
To a man — talking points? — the Patriots are saying pretty much the same thing about Gronkowski, who had surgery Monday morning for a broken left forearm and is expected to miss 4-8 weeks.
Wes Welker: “You always hate to see that, especially with a great player like him. Other guys just have to step up, collectively, all making plays, making sure we’re doing our jobs.”
Julian Edelman: “It’s tough. It’s just part of the game and we’re just going to have to move forward.”
Stevan Ridley: “Gronk’s a vital part, but we have other teammates who have to step up and get the job done. That’s what we’re going to try to do, the best we can as a unit. So for us, we’ve just got to keep playing football and hope that Gronk recovers quick and he’ll be back as soon as he can. It’s called a ‘team’ for a reason, man.”
Brady: “He’s been a very productive player, so other guys just have to step into that spot and do the job. That’s what it comes down to. That’s football and every team deals with it at one point or another. He’s a tough guy to replace, but that’s what we need to do.”
Ryan a defender
Patriots coach Bill Belichick had an unexpected ally in Jets counterpart Rex Ryan, who termed criticism that has come Belichick’s way regarding Gronkowski’s injury late in Sunday’s game as “absolutely ridiculous.”
“It’s just an unfortunate thing,” Ryan said on a conference call. “It was on an extra point. [Gronkowski has] probably done that 100 times this year for the simple fact of how many points they score.
“Just a freak deal that that would happen. But unfortunately that’s part of the game. Injuries do happen.”
Something in the air
Aqib Talib made an immediate impression on the Patriots, returning an interception for a touchdown against the Colts in his debut after being acquired Nov. 1 in a trade.
Turns out the Patriots have made their own immediate impression on the 26-year-old cornerback.
“I’ve never been a part of an organization like that,” Talib said before practice Tuesday. “It’s a different team. You just feel it walking around here — the atmosphere, a winning organization. It’s good to feel it in the air, the confidence that’s in this building.”
Talib’s presence already has been noticed by the opposition.
“Yeah, as if they need another great player, but he is a great player,” Ryan said.
“It’s going to be really interesting to see what [Belichick] does with Talib because if his first game is any indication, that’s not bad. You know, get an interception for a touchdown.”
3 miss walkthrough
The Patriots conducted a light walkthrough behind Gillette Stadium and were without three players: Gronkowski, Chandler Jones, and Logan Mankins . . . Defensive back Malcolm Williams, who played in the game in London against St. Louis before being released Nov. 17, was re-signed to the practice squad . . . Defensive linemen Jake Bequette, Justin Francis, and Trevor Scott, along with special teams captain Matthew Slater, were the practice players of the week in preparation for the Colts game . . . Belichick was outfitted with a microphone during Sunday’s win, and will be featured on the NFL Network’s “Sound FX” show, which airs Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.