By Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports

BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots’ bye could not have come at a better time. One thing the time off did for the Pats was give them a chance to regroup. At 7-2, they have made making changes on the fly seem like an easy thing but that has not been the case.

The Pats will now be able to get some people back in the system. Aqib Talib said the bye gave him just what he needed — some more time off — and maybe now he can come back. The Pats need him this week as they face Steve Smith and the Carolina Panthers wide receiving corps. He’s missed about three and a half games with that hip injury. Coach Bill Belichick gave the players six days off, so when they got back, everyone looked rested.

The return from the bye could also mean the return of Shane Vereen. The running back has been missing since his wrist injury against the  Buffalo Bills in Week 1. Tom Brady acknowledged this week how important Vereen is to the offense. The Patriots don’t have a player on the roster right now that is as versatile as Vereen is. They need him to get back in the mix.

Also, if you’re keeping track at home, the Pats are 10-3 after a bye under Bill Belichick. They will have had 15 days to prepare for Cam Newton and the Panthers, and more importantly, they have time to get ready for the second-ranked Panther defense.

Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid.


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