Patriots players are scattered across the map today, taking full advantage of their perfectly-timed bye week in New England's 2016 schedule by getting out of town for some rest and relaxation. They'll be back in Foxborough by Monday morning to pick up where they left off.
The 7-1 Patriots currently own the NFL's best record, thanks in large part to the nearly flawless performance of quarterback Tom Brady. TB12 is putting up historic numbers after just four games, as an ESPN blog post notes.
"Using our Points Added metric," the story explains, "which measures the number of points a quarterback has added to his team in comparison to the hypothetical 'average' quarterback, given the same number of plays, nobody is close to Brady since his return. Even when we extend out to capture the first four weeks of the season when Brady was suspended, only Matt Ryan (35.8 points added) has added more points to his team, relative to an average QB, than Brady."
A *Boston Herald *column also examines the subject of Brady's remarkable efficiency in 2016. No Patriots QB has thrown an interception at the midway point.
"Brady and the Patriots will be chasing the record set by Milt Plum's 1960 Browns when they welcome the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 13," writes the Herald. "Plum went 170 pass attempts before throwing a pick in his 10th game for the Browns that season."
Elsewhere, in the wake of the Jamie Collins trade, rookie LB Elandon Roberts could be ready for a larger role on New England's defense. The Boston Globe tackles this possibility.
"Bill Belichick first took note of Roberts while watching Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds play against Houston," writes the author. "Reynolds passed for more than 300 yards, but Belichick kept finding himself glued to the Cougars' middle linebacker. Intrigued, Belichick went to find some video. What he saw was what Dont'a Hightower called Roberts in an interview on WEEI: 'a torpedo.'"
Another *Globe *article focuses on the potential future role of another newcomer to New England's linebacker corps, Barkevious Mingo.
"What can I do?" Mingo said of the Collins trade. "The decision was made. We're here just trying to get better. That's why I have to get better cardio, get better at running down the field, and get better as an all-around player. That way, no matter where things go, you can be ready."
*The Providence Journal *uses the bye week to take a look at the best and worst of New England's season thus far.CSNNE.com also offers a mid-season awards slideshow.
Defense is an area where the Patriots could use some upgraded consistency, as a WEEI.com feature asserts.
"One of the biggest reasons for their struggles on third down comes from the lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, particularly the lack of sacks. So far this season, the Patriots have 13 sacks in eight games -- 27th in the NFL in sacks per game. They have two games so far this season with no sacks, which is note worthy as they recorded a sack in 30 straight games before Week 2 against the Dolphins."
Another WEEI.com piece breaks down the Patriots penalty situation after eight games.
Meanwhile, a somber report from the Boston Herald. A columnist there examines the revelation this week about the determined cause of death of former Patriots fullback Kevin Turner: CTE.
"What is not debatable is that what killed Kevin Turner wasn't ALS. Playing football killed Kevin Turner. Whether that was a result of playing too long, too hard or too blindly, we do not know, but as his father said, one thing we do know. 'You hit with your head,' he reminded us all. 'That's how you play football.'"