FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick reiterated the importance of using time during the bye week, not just for rest or a chance to re-charge batteries, but to find out what can be done to improve the Patriots going forward.
"I think its important for all of us to use whatever time we have efficiently," Belichick said Thursday. "Whether thats a regular week or a bye week, we have so many hours in the day, so many days in the week leading up to the game and those are all opportunities. Each day, each hour, theyre all opportunities to do the right thing whether it be preparation or physical rehab or rest or nutrition or whatever it happens to be.
"We try to make the most out of each of those opportunities, all of us -- players, coaches, rookies, veterans, long weeks, short weeks, off days, work days, whatever they are, we just try to get the most out of each day. Thats how we approach it is day to day. How do we get the most out of each day? Its important, of course its important. Every day is important."
Though Belichick said that the Patriots are not necessarily focused on how things are tracking in the long term -- "We just take it one game at a time, and right now were just trying to get ready for Buffalo" -- he did stress the importance of using the extra time they have this week to go back and look at different elements of his team's play so that the coaching staff might identify ways to be more successful going forward.
"That involves a lot of things," Belichick said. "Its plays, its techniques, its schemes, its maybe style of play, if you will, personnel groups, all those kind of things so we try to stay on top of all that . . . After youve had a number of opportunities to observe it, youve run it multiple times then you have a fair evaluation. You say, OK, weve run this play a bunch of times, these same problems keep coming up. Or this is the issue in this play, we have to change this. Not that we havent had experience with those plays before, but again it just gives you sometimes a chance to study it in a little bit more detail."
Details are the key. After the team identifies the areas in which it can improve, decisions have to be made as to how much time is allotted to each.
Take New England's pass defense as an example. It has allowed more plays of 20 yards or more than any other team in the league. Belichick admitted that it has to improve in that area. And while all areas of the pass defense can be addressed -- pass rush, pass coverage, scheme -- there will have to be decisions made as to which elements will get the most time. Even with the week off, there's only so much time in every day.
"I think thats a big part of what were doing right now," Belichick said. "Were looking at a lot of things; we have a few of balls in the air. When they come down, well have to figure out what the information is and whats the most important thing and how do we best utilize our time, our practice reps, our preparation time. How do we get the most out of that? Its still part of the process for this week. Weve done some of it but theres definitely more to go, and we continue to prepare for Buffalo. Thats all part of it, too."