Patriots coaching staff looks within during bye week

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Patriots coaching staff looks within during bye week

Bill Belichick knows how important it is to make use of the bye week. The extra time off isn't all about rest and relaxation. For the Patriots coaching staff, the extra time allotted to them before their Week 10 game against Buffalo will be maximized in an effort to find out what's working, what isn't, and what can be done better in the second half of the season.

The Patriots coaching staff has already had an opportunity to do some work since returning home from London on Monday.

"Well we got back in yesterday and kind of started to get re-organized here," Belichick said in a conference call on Tuesday. "So todays a good day for us to catch up on a few loose ends in the last few weeks, first half of the season, and really turn our attention to Buffalo and start getting ready for them, take advantage of the extra time, try to do a good job there."

To improve during the bye, Belichick said that he and his staff will turn their focus inward for a period of time, analyzing themselves and their tendencies rather than focusing purely on their next opponent. There is some self-scouting that takes place every week, but during the bye there's time to dig a little deeper.

"This is a good opportunity for us to try and look at some things that we can do better going forward," Belichick said. "But also looking back at maybe things that we could spend more time on to try to improve over the little bit of extra time this week from things that didnt go so well at other points, whether it was last week or some other week or some other problem that may have been re-occurring or something we hadnt done as well as wed like to do."

Everything's fair game. The Patriots will analyze statistical information as well as film in order to iron things out. They'll even dive into their own playbook to see if there are any trends that need to be fixed.

"Sometimes we just look at it and you see a group of 15 or 20 plays in a certain situation -- red area, two minute, third down, outside runs, inside runs, whatever it happens to be," Belichick said. "Sometimes something just jumps out at you. Its probably something youre aware of but maybe its a little bit more prevalent than what you expected."

The Patriots will even scout how other teams have scouted them. If they see that their opponents are playing the same way every week, then they know something's up.

"If were kind of seeing the same coverages," Belichick said, "or the same front or the same plays or the same formations are repeating -- whatever it happens to be on a consistent basis, then theres probably a reason for that that teams are trying to create some type of advantage or positioning that we were having trouble with for some reason."

The bye week is the time to figure out exactly what those things are.

Even with the time off, it should be a busy week at Gillette Stadium. While it will be important for players to rest up and receive treatment on their lingering injuries, Belichick and his staff will be hard at work, angling for whatever advantage they can find as they prepare for the second half of the season.

Price asks Red Sox fans for support: 'We will get through this'

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Price asks Red Sox fans for support: 'We will get through this'

If you're upset with the way the Red Sox have played recently, well, David Price understands.

But things, he vows, will get better. And he adds that it's only when you've been in the deepest valley that you can appreciate the highest mountain.

Or something like that . . .

Rodriguez shipped back to PawSox as Sox seek rotation answers

Rodriguez shipped back to PawSox as Sox seek rotation answers

After Eduardo Rodriguez's horrific performance Monday night against the Rays -- 11 hits and 9 earned runs allowed in 2 2/3 innings, leading to a 13-7 Red Sox loss to a team that entered the game riding an 11-game losing streak -- the Sox succumbed to the obvious and shipped him back to Pawtucket.  

And they got no argument from Sean McAdam.

"I think this is the right move," CSN's Red Sox Insider told Dalen Cuff on Monday night's SportsNet Central. "Because, clearly, the step forward that [Rodriguez] took, however small, last week was more than wiped out and (he) regressed this evening the way he pitched. And things have to be worked out, both in terms of execution and his approach . . . "

In six starts this season covering 29 1/3 innings -- less than five innings a start -- Rodriguez has been, in a word, awful. His 1-3 record is bad enough, but couple that with an 8.59 ERA, an opponents' batting average of .315, a WHIP of 1.74 and nine home runs allowed (a rate that projects out to about 45 homers allowed in a 150-inning season), and you can see why a change had to be made.

“The bottom line is, [Rodriguez] is capable of more," said manager John Farrell.

But now comes the next question: Who replaces him? And that, noted McAdam, has no easy answer.

"What it means for the rotation going forward is completely uncertain," McAdam told Cuff. "In fact, (Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski) told us that there was no corresponding move. Of course, because this turn doesn't come up in the rotation for another five days with the off-day Thursday, it's not anything they need to address (immediately). And in all likelihood, they'll probably get somebody to pitch out of the bullpen here until that turn comes up."

So the Sox get five days to ponder a problem that seems, in many ways unsolvable.

"[There] aren't a lot of good candidates internally," McAdam noted, "and it's unlikely there's going to be any sort of trade . . . in the next four days to fill that spot