Aqib Talib thankful for bye week

Aqib Talib dressed but didn’t play a single snap in Sunday’s 28-0 win over the Dolphins. Talib has been slowed by a hip injury.

It’s only natural, then, that Talib will benefit from an extra week of rest instead of playing in the first round this weekend.

“I’m just day-to-day, trying to get better and get in better shape,” said the cornerback. “Still been in practice, practicing and doing what I can. So I guess that’s how it’s been.”

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Talib was limited in the 23-16 win over Jacksonville on Dec. 23. It’s unknown how much Talib will be able to contribute on Jan. 13, when the Patriots square off against Houston, Indianapolis, or Baltimore.

“If he would have told me to play on Sunday, I would have played,” Talib said. “If he told me to chill, I’d chill.”

While injured players such as Talib are using the time to rest, the team is using practice today and tomorrow for self-evaluation. With no game-planning required, the players are critiquing their own games.

“You want to narrow down on the things that need to get fixed,” Steve Gregory said. “We’ve been doing that this week. It’s a good week for us – a big week for us to get better.”

* Rob Ninkovich (hip) was not seen in the locker room. Ninkovich required help to hobble off the field on Sunday. Ninkovich, Tom Brady, and Dont’a Hightower were not present for the start of today’s practice.

* The Patriots are scheduled for a final practice tomorrow. They have been given Friday through Sunday off. “We have a couple practices where we’re going to go hard and work on the things we need to work on,” Aaron Hernandez said. “The days we have, we’ll relax, maybe watch a little bit of film, and get some mental rest.”

* The team paid tribute to equipment manager Don Brocher on a TV screen inside the locker room. Brocher died on Tuesday because of complications from leukemia. Pictures of Brocher, along with a “41 Patriots Seasons” caption, rotated on the screen.