Bill Belichick said Monday morning that the Patriots used the weekend to get their heads and bodies right for Tampa Bay.
After last Thursday’s win over the Jets, the Patriots were in the office briefly on Friday before being off Saturday and Sunday (some players no doubt had treatment or opted to go into the stadium to work anyway).
Explaining the team’s mindset on a conference call, Belichick said, “We’ve had two tough games and the two games have come down to the last possession. As a team, we have a lot of guys that have some bumps and bruises and some soreness and all that so it gives us a couple extra days to get through that. Last week was really a week that we weren’t able to practice, it was really more walkthroughs and film and preparation and that kind of thing.”
The weekend, said Belichick, helped the staff to recalibrate.
“I think that it kind of as a staff gives us a little bit of extra time to figure out where we are, what things we need to work on . . . situations that maybe haven’t come up in the first couple games that we need to refresh and the ones that have, we’ve talked about and hopefully learned from and been able to make progress on those going forward,” Belichick explained.
Roster evaluation, it seems, was a key part of the staff’s weekend.
“We’ve made quite a few roster moves in the first couple weeks of the season, between the practice squad and some 53-man roster moves so we’ll see if we can settle in on a few of those,” he pointed out. “We’ve had an opportunity to evaluate some of those players that we didn’t know as well that have recently come here and try to figure out what the best combination and how to have the strongest roster that we can going forward."
In talking about Tampa, Belichick stressed that the 0-2 Bucs are not what their record indicates.
“Talk about a team that’s two plays away from being 2-0, that’s Tampa,” he pointed out. “They’ve been really close the last two weeks and have come up short but a couple plays that just turn out a little differently, wouldn’t have taken much, we’d be looking at a 2-0 team. I have a lot of respect for the way that they play. They’re a tough, physical team. They play hard on every play in all three phases of the game. I think that the work we did against them in training camp was good for our development as a team but I’m not really sure how much carryover that will have into the game other than just the familiarity with some of the players that we went up against. Scheme-wise, it’s all game planning now, it’s not just going out there and working on the things that both teams are working on. I’m sure it will be geared very specifically both ways toward the opponent. Definitely we’ll have to learn a lot from their game against the Jets and New Orleans yesterday, have a good week of practice here and be ready to play our best. I really feel like we’re playing a 2-0 team. That’s the way we have to prepare.”