FOXBORO (CBS) -The New England Patriots hit the practice field for the second time during this playoff bye week on Thursday, and once again were without some of their star players.
In all six Patriots were absent from Thursday’s practice.
Quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Wes Welker remained out of practice for a second straight day, with offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer also absent again.
Joining the five on the sidelines Thursday was running back BenJarvis Green-Ellis.
Practice the last two days has been pretty physical despite being held in shorts and shells without pads.
“Just do everything full speed, just no contact, same thing we’ve been doing all year,” head coach Bill Belichick said Thursday morning. “You were at all the training camp practices. The ones that weren’t in pads were full speed but no contact – same thing.”
Under the CBA, teams can only practice in pads once during a bye week.
The Pats will have to wait until this weekend to find out who their opponent will be next Saturday, so you can imagine they’ll be watching this weekend as the Bengals take on the Texans, and Steelers go to Denver to play the Broncos. Players have already said they’ll be watching the games, but Belichick says the TV scouting is much different from the scouting they’ll be doing next week.
“There’s a lot more for us on the coaches’ film. I don’t want to say there’s no value, but it’s a lot higher on the coaches’ film than TV scouting,” said Belichick, adding that they can probably get a good play or two off the TV broadcast.
“You’re at the mercy of whatever they show you. If they show you something and you can learn something from it then great,” he said. “We really have to get a lot of information off the coaches’ copy where you can see all 22 players and see exactly what the schemes and the relationships are. Sometimes you get a close-up shot and you can see a little more when it’s just two guys in the picture instead of 22. I mean, I’m not saying there isn’t any value to that because there is and we use that all the time because of the closeness of the shot and how much more detailed it can be relative to a technique or hand placement, little things like that. But as far as actually scouting the team, no.”
Belichick said that he will decide on the practice schedule for next week as soon as the Patriots know who their opponent will be.
The Patriots have a first-round bye, but be sure to tune in to a special playoff edition of Patriots GameDay Sunday January 8 at 11:30am on WBZ-TV. Then on Saturday, January 14, tune in to the Pats Playoff matchup on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub at 8pm. Pregame coverage begins with 98.5′s Patriots Preview at 5pm.