Winslow has been with the team for just two practices, but coach Bill Belichick said Friday he wasn't ruling out him contributing with tight end Aaron Hernandez out with an ankle injury.
"He's a pretty experienced guy, he's smart, he's [played] a lot of football," Belichick said. "We'll see how it goes, but I think there's a chance that he could help us."
Belichick said the Patriots have thrown a lot at Winslow since signing him to a one-year deal on Tuesday. He called Friday a key day because that's when the team ties together what it has worked on and a player's retention is tested.
In a situation like this, Belichick said the main thing is to ensure the player is ready for the game-plan, more so than focusing on the complete playbook.
"There may be things in the playbook that you need to go over and all that, but they may not apply to this game, so how much time do you want to spend on those?" he said. "Even though they are important, fundamental and building blocks, but it's not something that's really going to be used in this particular game, then it's maybe something you want to catch up on later on.
"So we try to prioritize what the person needs as a foundation, and what the person needs to go out and be able to play in the game in the role that we would ask him to play in. Next week, we'd probably go back and add in some other things, and whatever the new game-plan is make sure we cover that, and accumulate it that way rather than try to teach the entire book in one sitting."
When considering how long it would take for a player to get up to speed, Belichick said it varies.
He used veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters as an example. Waters was signed Sept. 4 last year and started in the season opener Sept. 12.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss was used in this report.