BOSTON (CBS) — There’s a whole lot of talk about “grinding it out” when it comes to the 6-2 New England Patriots.
They won’t have to worry about that grind much over the next seven days, as head coach Bill Belichick is rewarding his team with a slew of days off during their bye week.
The Patriots had to grind out an ugly win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, and Belichick made a point to talk about the rigorous start to the season his players have gone through. He praised them for all of their hard work, starting in training camp, showing up every day ready to do whatever he and the staff demanded of them. Those efforts are not lost on the coach.
“Every week it’s been a grind whether it’s going back to the preseason scrimmages, whether it’s the preseason games. We’ve been at it here for a long time. I ask these guys to come in every day and put in a hard day of preparation, practice, training, film study and so forth. I’d say I’ve been impressed with the way they’ve done that and have been able to grind it out day after day,” Belichick said after New England’s 21-13 win over the Chargers. “It’s not easy. But look, it’s a job. We don’t mind doing it; I’m not saying that. But still, it’s hard, and every team has got good players. Every team has difficult schemes. Every team requires a lot of communication and coordination to get plays right and to get situations right.
“I just meant it in terms of just week after week after week or day after day after day or hour after hour, coming in at eight in the morning and grinding through it until 4:30, 5:00 at night. Those guys are working hard and it’s paying off, but they’re working hard. They’re grinding it,” he said.
Sure, he chanted “No Days Off!” just a few months ago, but Belichick is indeed giving his team some days off this week. To reward them for their efforts over the last three months, Belichick is only holding one practice during their bye, which will come on Wednesday. Players will have Monday and Tuesday off, return to work on Wednesday, and then get the next four days off to rest up both mentally and physically.
They may not have to report for practice during those six days off, but players said they’ll be watching film and doing plenty of self-scouting, looking for ways they can improve as a unit.
The Pats could certainly use the extra rest, and are pleased their bye falls in the middle of the season with the toughest part of their schedule looming. They don’t play again until November 12, when the Patriots head to Denver for a Sunday night tilt with the Broncos. They’ll then head to Mexico City for November 19 clash with the Oakland Raiders, and after a quick return to Gillette for a post-Thanksgiving game against the Miami Dolphins, they’ll hit the road again for three straight games, paying visits to Buffalo, Miami and Pittsburgh.
Belichick always says teams need to be playing their best football by Thanksgiving, and he’s making sure his squad is rested and ready when they return to the office next week.