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FOXBOROUGH — Trey Williams had only been in town for just over 24 hours, but he was sure of one thing: Nobody on the Patriots can sing better than he can.

"I'm probably the best in this locker room right now," Williams said with a big smile Thursday, just before his first practice with the Patriots. "I can go."

Williams's talents made the Internet rounds when he showed off his vocals in a singing competition against West Virginia in the days before Texas A&M's bowl game last winter, and again over the summer when the Redskins hazed their rookies.

But that's not why the Patriots brought him in.


They claimed the 5-foot-7-inch, 195-pound undrafted rookie from the Cowboys this week to bolster their running back depth — and Williams is confident he can do that, too.

Williams described his skill set the way coach Bill Belichick did a day earlier. Running the ball, kick returns, some reps in the slot — Williams can do a little bit of everything.

He hasn't done it in the NFL yet, though.

The Patriots are already Williams's third team. He signed with the Redskins in May and started the season on their practice squad.

The Cowboys signed him to their 53-man roster last month, but he was inactive for four games before getting released Monday.

Now, New England.

"It's been everywhere, man. New life for me," Williams said. "I'm adjusting to it. I'm slowly getting there, but I'll be there for sure. I know for a fact I'll stick [in the NFL]. I'm just slowly adjusting to it."

Williams arrived late Wednesday morning and spent much of the day getting acclimated at the Patriots facility. He said he fell asleep that night with his face in the playbook.

"Right now I've just got to get my head in this playbook and learn everything first," he said. "It's a lot — it's a lot different as well. As far as slot goes, it's a different position from running back, but I'm learning the routes and I'm learning how to run those routes and [what] they call them."


Williams, who turns 23 next week, had a little trouble finding the trainers' room after his media session, but a couple of faces here are familiar to him. He said he knows rookie defensive tackle Malcom Brown a little bit — they played high school ball not far from each other in Texas — and receiver Danny Amendola, whose father coached Williams at Spring Dekaney High in Houston.

Amendola went to watch the Wildcats in a state title game one year and came away impressed with Williams.

"He was a beast," Amendola said.

Accentuate positive

The Philadelphia Eagles defense has been terrible lately — allowing a combined 90 points and 10 passing touchdowns in back-to-back losses to the Buccaneers and Lions — but you could've fooled the Patriots.

Receiver Brandon LaFell pulled the curtain back a bit on Belichick's approach to preparing the team via film study, explaining that the Patriots don't watch the Eagles' bad plays. They've watched Philadelphia causing turnovers, but not giving up those TDs.

"[Belichick will] show us how to get open, but for the most part he has us focusing on taking care of the ball, blocking their front four, beating man-to-man coverage, and finding ways to make plays," LaFell said.


"It feels like every team we play against, it's like we're facing the best defensive line we can face, the best secondary. Every time we watch film against a team, I feel like they're undefeated, because we never see none of their bad plays, we only see the positive things they do.

"I guess he has us going out there and make sure we respect our opponent. Make sure we study."

The Eagles' passing defense ranks 20th in the league and is allowing 252.8 yards per game. Their opponents have twice as many touchdown throws (25, more than two per game) as interceptions (12).

"You've got to block it out of your mind," LaFell said. "I'm telling you, every week I'll be like, 'This might be the best defense we face.' "

Injury report

Defensive lineman Dominique Easley (ankle) and cornerback Justin Coleman (hand) were absent from practice again Thursday, joining Rob Gronkowski (knee) and Julian Edelman (foot). Amendola (knee), safety Patrick Chung (foot), linebacker Jamie Collins (illness), linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee), and tight end Michael Williams (knee) were still limited. Collins has missed the last four games. Defensive lineman Alan Branch (elbow), offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (toe), and defensive end Chandler Jones (abdomen) were listed as full participants. On the Eagles side, among the noteworthy names on the injury report was quarterback Sam Bradford (left shoulder; full participant), who has sat out the last two games. Receiver Nelson Agholor (hip) was upgraded from limited to full participation.


Buckeye Brady

Turns out Tom Brady actually lost twice last weekend. The Patriots fell to the Broncos on Sunday night, of course, one day after the quarterback lost a bet to special teamer Nate Ebner. Brady's alma mater, Michigan, got blown out by rival Ohio State, where Ebner played. The result? Brady donned a red Ohio State shirt in the locker room Thursday. "Just a little friendly competition," Ebner said with a smile . . . Devin McCourty is the Patriots' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player for excellence on and off the field. Nate Solder and McCourty are the team's nominees for a similar honor, the NFLPA's Byron "Whizzer" White Award . . . The Patriots are hosting a toy drive prior to Sunday's game against the Eagles. Fans are encouraged to bring toys — new and unwrapped, for kids ranging from newborn to 18 years old — for donation bins outside the Gillette Stadium entry gates. Those who donate will receive a 10 percent discount coupon to the pro shop.

Belichick on facing the Eagles

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick prepares for the Philadelphia Eagles.