Bill Belichick isn’t ready to throw a party because his team is off to a 3-0 start to the season.
“Big deal,” he scoffed, one day after trouncing the Jaguars 51-17.
But he’ll have to wait two weeks before he can downplay his team’s 4-0 start.
The Patriots are one of only two teams, along with the Tennessee Titans, that have a bye this week - the earliest bye week of the 17-week NFL regular season.
Is it ideal? You wouldn’t say so. The season isn’t even a month old yet, and in a league where players are banged up on the regular, most teams would enjoy a week off deeper into the season.
But Bill Belichick has never been one to complain about the schedule, and he isn’t about to start now.
“Yeah, whenever it’s scheduled, there’s nothing really we can do about it, so we just try to take advantage of the time we have and use it the best way we can use it,” Belichick said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team where anybody was unhappy to have a bye week, whenever it comes. So, you take advantage of the chance to rest, get caught up, take some time analyzing what you need to work on and have a good plan to do the things that can help your team improve during this time and when the team returns to really start in on our preparations for Dallas.”
Not only is the bye week meant for rest, but coaches use it to self-evaluate up to that point in the season. Of course, three weeks of self-evaluation isn’t much – some players likes Ryan Wendell or Brandon LaFell haven’t even played a game yet. Regardless, the team has been full steam ahead for much longer than the last three weeks, when you include camp and preseason.
“These guys have been going really hard since the end of July,” Belichick said. “Even though we’ve had a couple days here and there, training camp rolled right into the opening game of the year, which came on Thursday, so there was a lot of urgency just coming out of preseason and into the start of the season without really any cushion.”
Once the bye week is through, the team will get back to the grind and prepare for 13 straight weeks of games, beginning with the Cowboys in Dallas.
If all goes according to plan, we’ll be talking about another bye week in January.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Belichick said. “We have a long way to go. I don’t think we’re doing a good enough job coaching or playing really in any area . . . I think we’re improving and I think we’re making some progress, but we need to move faster and just do everything better.”