FOXBORO — The last two days, tight end Kellen Winslow has darted in and out of the Patriots [team stats]’ locker room, trying to assimilate himself as quickly as possible.
Sometimes, it’s been the simple stuff, briskly walking to the equipment room to pick up cleats and new team apparel. Other times, it’s been for a quick meeting to better understand the lay of the land.
And during those precious free moments, he has gotten a chance to take a seat at his locker and bury himself in the playbook. For someone like Winslow, a 29-year-old former Pro Bowler who is trying to find a permanent role on his third team in five months, there can’t be any wasted time.
“I’ve been in the playbook nonstop,” Winslow said. “There’s a lot of work to be done. I’m just trying to get the offense down and try to find my way in the offense.”
Winslow didn’t seem frantic or overwhelmed yesterday when he took a few minutes to chat. He simply came across as a guy who wanted to make the most of a big-time situation.
He said he had been in contact with a couple of other teams, but Winslow saw an opportunity to join the Patriots after Aaron Hernandez went down with an ankle injury. Since the two tight ends are similarly athletic and versatile in their ability to line up in different spots, Winslow believed he could carve out a role for himself in Hernandez’s absence.
“It’s how tight ends should be used, and they do a good job,” Winslow said of the way the Patriots have employed Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. “They do a real good job.”
The chances of it happening are a great unknown. Recent seasons have shown how difficult it can be for a player to walk in and immediately find success with Tom Brady [stats]. Then again, tight ends have an obviously significant role in the Patriots’ offense, so Winslow will get his chance if he has a good first week of practice.
When asked how to make himself stick out on an offense that is overstocked with tight ends, Winslow simply said, “Just make plays, and they’ll find a way.”
Another question has been Winslow’s surgically repaired knee, though he has heard about that one for years. And still, he hasn’t missed a game since 2008. Winslow smiled when asked about the amount of pain that he has played through in his career.
“The thing I concentrate on is not missing games because then there’s nothing to hold against me,” said Winslow, who noted he did not work out for the Pats during his first visit earlier this month.
And then, Winslow scurried away one more time. There was still work to do.
Patriots practice squad safety Cyhl Quarles is earning his money this week. The undrafted rookie was with the Ravens from May through training camp, so he has taken it upon himself to give Brady a good look on the scout team defense, emulating both Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard.
To be fair, Brady has gotten a decent grasp of the Ravens’ defense in the teams’ four meetings since 2009, and that will ultimately be more helpful than Quarles’ information. But still, Quarles has taken pride in his role this week.
“Showing different blitzes and coming out,” Quarles said of the looks he has presented at practice. “Say if I’ve got to blitz on one side and come out and show some cover-2. Or show like I’m coming down in a fire zone then back out to cover-2, or show I’ve got a cover-2 then go back to the middle third. Stuff like that, simple things.”