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.