FOXBOROUGH — For his first regular-season assignment as a member of the Patriots, Darrelle Revis could be matched up on the receiver he says is probably the fastest in the NFL: Miami’s Mike Wallace.
Revis said Wallace, who had 73 receptions for 930 yards in five touchdowns last year, his first with the Dolphins, is explosive in addition to being fast, and you don’t realize just how quickly he’s moving until you’re on the field against him.
“Film can play tricks on guys sometimes when you’re watching,” Revis said Thursday. “Until you get out there, film speed and game speed are two totally different things. I’ve played against [Wallace] in the past, a lot of guys on this team have, and they know how fast he is.
“He’s probably the fastest receiver in the league. We all know that; we’re all well aware of that.”
Wallace is fast, and the Dolphins are trying to play fast as well — they hired Bill Lazor away from Philadelphia to be their offensive coordinator, and Miami wants to play the high-octane style the Eagles do.
But Revis said that is nothing new.
“Miami always plays fast. They’ve played fast in the past,” he said. “The weather plays a part as well, playing down there in that hot, hot weather. We’re aware of all the situations. That’s why we have a week to prepare, to go through every kind of scenario we can, player- and coach-wise, and we’ll just game plan.”
Though this is Revis’s seventh season in the league, he’s still looking forward to getting things kicked off.
“I’m very excited; it’s the first week,” he said. “I think we’re all excited. We’ve been waiting for this for a while, and now it’s here.”
This week’s Patriots depth chart — listed by the team as unofficial — had defensive end Rob Ninkovich also serving as the first-string long snapper. After the Patriots released Danny Aiken on Sunday, when rosters needed to be trimmed to 53, then signed and subsequently waived Charley Hughlett, the team was without a designated long snapper on its roster.
No more. Aiken was re-signed Thursday, and joined his familiar teammates at practice. Aiken, who has been the team’s long snapper for the previous three seasons, said after practice that he wanted the focus to be on the upcoming season opener, not the recent roster transactions.
“You know, just staying focused. Glad to have the opportunity to come back, and now it’s just focus on Miami and take it day-by-day,” Aiken said. “It is what it is, and now it’s just focusing on the task at hand and focusing on Miami.”
Revis is the only projected starter on defense who wasn’t with the Patriots last season, but the Patriots will have two starters back from injury in defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo. Both missed the bulk of the 2013 season.
Does the return of Wilfork and Mayo, plus the addition of Revis, give this defense a different look or feel to it?
“I’m not sure I would say different, but definitely a lot more comfortable, knowing they’ve been here since OTAs, we all depend on each other, we all hold each other accountable,” linebacker Dont’a Hightower said. “If Mayo makes a check, then everybody gets the check, everybody knows what’s going on.
“I definitely feel like that’s why you’re hearing the term ‘fun’ so much, because we know what to do, we can play fast, we can have fun, so things aren’t as complicated or that much different.”
Signs of the times
In addition to the re-signing of Aiken to the active roster and quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson to the practice squad, the Patriots re-signed linebacker Chris White, also to the active roster. White played in 16 games for the Patriots last season, making one tackle on defense and nine on special teams. He had been released on Sunday as part of the final roster trim . . . The Patriots have won 10 straight season openers, tied for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history. Only the Cowboys (1965-81) and Dolphins (1992-2002) have put together longer streaks. Included in the Patriots’ 10 was a 38-24 road win over the Dolphins in 2011.