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Integration of Spikes in focus

One of the important personnel issues for the Patriots is getting inside linebacker Brandon Spikes back into the mix following his four-game suspension.

Spikes plays on early downs when the Patriots are in the 3-4 alignment. He was on the field for 31.7 percent of the defensive snaps this season and was fifth on the team with 71 tackles.

Spikes practiced for the first time since his suspension last Wednesday and Thursday and the Patriots were in full pads. How did it look?

"It looked like he hadn’t practiced in four weeks with the team, so he’s got a ways to go," coach Bill Belichick answered Monday.

Belichick was then asked if it was something Spikes could make up in a week, so he could be effective in Sunday's playoff game against the Jets.

"Well, we’ll see," he said. "Hopefully he’ll be better this week than he was last week. He should be with the extra days of practice and just getting back into it, but we’ll see how it goes."

Added linebackers coach Matt Patricia: "I think Brandon is a guy that is out there right now getting himself back in the groove of everything we’re doing here and what we are trying to get done. I think anyone that misses any type of work for four weeks, comes back to it with a little bit of a degree of having to get adjusted, so I think that’s all to be expected."