FOXBORO, Mass. — Shaun Wade made just the second start of his three-year Patriots career last Sunday, but it proved to be little more than a cameo.

After playing the first two defensive series of New England’s home loss to Washington, the cornerback quickly became a spectator, seeing just one more defensive snap the rest of the way.

That could change this week.

With the Patriots choosing not to bring usual starting corner J.C. Jackson with them on their trip to Frankfurt, Germany, Wade could see extended playing time Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

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Speaking Wednesday in the Patriots’ locker room, the 25-year-old said he didn’t know what his role would be with Jackson sidelined but was prepared to “do whatever the team needs.”

“I’m always prepared,” Wade said. “If it’s a bigger role, a smaller role, if I’m not playing, I’ll always be prepared.”

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Wade’s early-game reps against the Commanders came after Jackson and Jack Jones reportedly missed curfew the night before the game, resulting in temporary benchings for both. Jackson’s punishment extended into this week, with the Patriots reportedly telling him to stay away from the team due to reliability and performance issues.

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Jackson did not practice Wednesday and will not join the team in Germany. The prominence of Wade’s role against Indianapolis will partially depend on whether there’s any lingering discipline for Jones, who was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice.

Regardless, Wade should be part of New England’s Week 10 game plan along with starter Jonathan Jones and slot man Myles Bryant. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Ohio State product was borderline redshirted for his first two Patriots seasons (39 total snaps in 2021 and ’22) but has seen his opportunities increase this year out of necessity.

Injuries decimated the Patriots’ cornerback group in September and early October, forcing Wade and Bryant into top spots on the perimeter. Wade played 14 defensive snaps in Week 2, 38 in Week 3 and 62 in Week 4 before Jackson’s arrival via trade and Jones’ return from injured reserve pushed him back into a reserve role. He didn’t play at all on defense in Week 7 or 9 before his surprise start against Washington.

Head coach Bill Belichick praised Wade’s consistency and said he’s “practiced well.

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“He’s … taking advantage of his opportunities,” Belichick said Wednesday. “… He’s strung together a couple good weeks. … It’s trending the right way.”

Cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino, who raised eyebrows by saying Wade “earned” his start against the Commanders, said he’s “a different player than what he has been in the past.”

Different how? Wade said he’s much more confident and better at “staying out of (his) head.” He’s glad to finally be seeing the field after toiling in anonymity for two full seasons.

“It means a lot,” Wade said. “This is what I prayed for. I’ve just got to go out there and perform and do my job. Do my job and come out with a victory.”

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The Patriots’ other depth option behind Wade is undrafted rookie Alex Austin, who was a healthy scratch against Washington after singing days earlier. Austin appeared in three games for Houston earlier this season, playing mostly on special teams.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images