FOXBORO -- To be considered a truly great team in the NFL, you not only have to be physically tough, but mentally resilient as well.



Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will interview for the head coaching job at Penn State on Thursday, according to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network. O'Brien, who has been linked to several jobs over the last month -- including the offensive coordinators' job in Kansas City and the head coaching job in Jacksonville -- has been part of the New England coaching staff since 2007, and worked his way to his current position this season. For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Patriots defensive back Sterling Moore was named the Pepsi Rookie of the Week, the NFL announced Wednesday. Moore had two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown, in the Patriots' 49-21 victory over the Bills. He also added two passes defensed and a tackle. He is the first undrafted player to win Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors this season. For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady and Wes Welker were among the five players not spotted on the main Gillette Stadium field Wednesday as the Patriots returned to practice in sweats and shells, the first workout of their bye week. 

Logan Mankins (left knee), Sebastian Vollmer (foot/back) and Marcus Cannon - all offensive linemen - were the three other players not in attendance for the start of a frigid practice. 

CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about the Patriots, the NFL playoffs and the dysfunctional Jets.

Esiason predicts the Steelers will handle the Broncos, and the Texans will get past the Bengals this weekend, setting up a visit from the Steelers to Foxboro the following weekend.

Looking at how the Patriots have distributed the ball in the passing game the last three seasons, it’s clear that New England has gone from an offense where the tight ends were ancillary parts of a much bigger whole to a system that has been dominated by young tight ends Rob Gronkowski and



It turns out reports of the death of the Patriots Way were greatly exaggerated.



Vince Wilfork made his weekly appearance on The Big Show on Tuesday and said New England's defense has to find a way to get in the flow of the game earlier. The past two games New England has fallen behind by large deficits against division foes Miami and Buffalo before storming back for victories in the second half. The Patriots finished the regular season atop the AFC, thus earning a bye week. New England is scheduled to play their first playoff game on Saturday, Jan. 14, in the divisional round.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick made his weekly appearance on The Big Show on Tuesday. The Patriots beat the Bills 49-21 on Sunday to finish a 13-3 regular season and earn the top seed, a bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Belichick was asked if the level of play changes dramatically in the postseason.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning, two days after leading the Patriots to a 49-21 comeback victory over the Bills.

While there was concern that the Patriots fell behind by three touchdowns to an inferior opponent for the second straight week, Brady said the team never lost its confidence.