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Patriots Notebook

Despite blizzard, Patriots remain focused on playoff task at hand

Patriots quarterback Cam Newton had a pair of touchdown runs in a Week 1 win over the Dolphins, who have gone 7-2 in their last nine games.Steven Senne/Associated Press

Cam Newton said he was mesmerized looking out his window Wednesday night watching the snow fall and the plow drivers trying to clear the streets.

The quarterback said he “almost felt like a kid at Christmas looking for Santa.”

The present Newton and teammates likely have at the top of their lists is a win in Miami Gardens — where the Heat Miser reigns — to keep their postseason chances alive. The keys, said Newton, are to get back to their quick-start ways and protecting the football against a team that has been downright Grinch-like when it comes to turnovers.

“That’s always our mentality,’' Newton said. “Miami presents a problem for teams. They’re a very opportunistic team that leads the league in takeaways, I do believe [they’re actually tied for second at plus-10]. They try to get the quarterback in a bind, not necessarily in making mistakes, but probably second-guessing. They challenge an offensive group as a whole to execute. I think if we have our mentality set to keep getting better and stay on a certain side of making plays and extending drives, I think we’ll be good to go.’'

Newton wouldn’t bite when asked about the progress of receiver Julian Edelman, who returned to practice Wednesday and is affectionately called “Highway 11” by the quarterback.


“Well, as you know, I can’t speak about those roads — I’ll just keep it at that,’' he said. “I did pass the road, and it’s just . . . yeah, for what it’s worth.’'

Pressed if it’s a scenic highway, Newton smiled.

“Never know, man. I’ve learned here quickly, the less you say, the better. So, let’s just keep it at that,’' he said.

A smoothing pattern

N’Keal Harry said he had a conversation with Newton about the remarks made by his footwork coach, Rischad Whitfield, in a recent Patriots Wire story that were unflattering toward the quarterback.


“I just let [Newton] know and made sure he knew that whatever was said — I don’t know what was said — nothing came from me,’' said Harry.

Whitfield was quoted in the story saying Newton is partly to blame for Harry’s slow development.

“We’ve got a new quarterback. We’ve got to put some of that [stuff] on Cam. Cam hasn’t been the most accurate this year. Like if [Harry] had Tom Brady, Tom Brady would’ve fed him,’' Whitfield was quoted as saying.

It sounds like all is OK between Cam Newton and N'Keal Harry.Maddie Meyer/Getty

Whitfield has tweeted his displeasure with the story and maintains his comments were taken out of context.

As he has maintained since the summer, Harry said he has a solid relationship with Newton.

“It’s been great. Cam and I have gotten to know each other a lot more. We kind of got to feel each other out a lot more,’' he said. “And like I said, he’s been great for me. He’s been doing everything he can to help me out. So, I’m extremely grateful to have someone like that in the locker room.’'

Line dancing

Jermaine Eluemunor, who has started the last three games at left tackle, was present but was classified as a “did not participate” at Thursday’s indoor practice as he deals with an ankle injury that also kept him limited on Wednesday.

Eluemunor missed three games earlier this year, also because of an ankle ailment. He started four of the first five games at right tackle, where rookie Mike Onwenu has started the last eight games.


Rookie Justin Herron, who has rotated in at left tackle the last three games, was limited at the workout, also with an ankle injury.

Harris limited

Damien Harris was a new addition to the report with an ankle injury that kept him limited. The running back was a full participant Wednesday, which was a mild surprise after he suffered a back injury late in the Dec. 10 loss to the Rams.

Damien Harris popped up on the injury report Thursday with an ankle issue.Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Harris joined fellow backs James White (foot) and J.J. Taylor (quadriceps) as limited. Also limited on offense were receiver Donte Moncrief (thigh) and right guard Shaq Mason (calf). On defense, tackles Lawrence Guy (shoulder), Adam Butler (shoulder), and Byron Cowart (back), and corners J.C. Jackson (knee) and Jonathan Jones (neck) were limited. Specialists Matthew Slater (knee) and Nick Folk (back) also were limited.

Defensive tackle Carl Davis (concussion) was at practice and is now designated to return from injured reserve.

Snow day

Josh Uche said Bill Belichick gave players the option to stay in a Patriot Place hotel on Wednesday night because of the snowstorm, and the rookie linebacker took the coach up on the offer. “I wasn’t going to roll the dice on that one,’' said the Miami native (though he did play college football at Michigan) . . . Count receiver Jakobi Meyers among those who had never experienced a storm like the one that dumped a foot or more of the white stuff on the region. “It was like ‘Home Alone’ or something,’' he said . . . Mason on practicing in the bubble to simulate the Miami weather: “It’s definitely hot in there.” . . . Mason also said he expects some back and forth when it comes to trash-talking with the Dolphins’ defensive front, which features former Patriots Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts, but it’s “all in the game.”


Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.