Deaderick not looking back

Mike Rodak/ESPN Boston

Patriots defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick talks to reporters Tuesday at Gillette Stadium.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Stressing he's got a lot of ground to make up after starting the season on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list, Patriots second-year defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick said he's excited to be back on the field and is preparing like the next game could be his first of the year.

Deaderick said he's uncertain when he'll be activated, but suggested he's in full health and ready to prove he deserves a spot on the 53-man active roster.

"Basically, I gotta prepare each week like I’m going to play," said Deaderick. "That’s the plan... I'm just really focusing on getting better. I got a lot of ground to make up, so I'm just glad to be out there."

Deaderick, a seventh-round pick (247th overall) out of Alabama, appeared in 11 games as a rookie, making five starts, including one in the team's playoff loss to the New York Jets. He underwent offseason shoulder surgery and that may have contributed to him starting the season on the PUP list.

Deaderick sat out the first six weeks of the season, but returned to practice last week. The Patriots had three weeks from that moment to activate him (or move him to season-ending injured reserve). With the defensive line thinned by season-ending injuries to Myron Pryor (shoulder) and Mike Wright (concussion), there's an opportunity for Deaderick and fellow PUP-lister Ron Brace to shuffle into the rotation.

"They certainly can [help]," said Albert Haynesworth. "I watched some of the film from last year, they can really play. They're strong, powerful young guys that can really play the game."

Asked about the frustration about being on the PUP list, Deaderick wouldn't look in the rear-view mirror.

"I've pretty much put that in the past, I'm ready to go now," said Deaderick. "I'm preparing this week for Pittsburgh. The past is the past, I'm just looking forward to the future."

As for how he can contribute, Deaderick said he's ready to help out at any spot on the line. Last season, he bounced between the end positions in New England's 3-4 base alignment, but said he's got the ability to move inside in the 4-3.

"Pretty much whatever they want me to play that week, that’s what I’ll be doing," said Deaderick. "I’ll be inside, I’ll be outside. Whatever they call for, I gotta be prepared to play it. D-Line is d-line."