While the Jacksonville and Pittsburgh duked it out Saturday, Ellis Hobbs passed out.
"Oh yeah, I can sleep when I want to," a refreshed Hobbs revealed Monday afternoon at his locker inside Gillette Stadium. "If I want to take a nap and wake up in the third quarter, I can … which I did!"
The Patriots cornerback and the rest of his Patriots teammates can also rest easy knowing their next game will be here in Foxboro.
"It just feels good not to travel," S Rodney Harrison conceded. "You have your fans, your family, your friends. You just have a sense of comfort here. You can get in the whirlpool before the game. It's just nice to be at home."
"All jokes aside," Hobbs continued, "[the bye week] feels good after all the hard work in the regular season, deserving it and earning it. That's an advantage where a lot of guys that were bruised and banged up can heal up and use this time to rest and get refocused by getting your mind off football for a couple of days."
New England's focus now is on the Jaguars, who beat the Steelers in a thriller on the road Saturday night, thanks in large part to the play of their quarterback, David Garrard.
Garrard threw only three interceptions during the regular season, but was picked off twice by Pittsburgh.
"He can be picked off. I'm not going to sit here and make excuses for him. I don't think he would make excuses for himself. It was just a matter of a quarterback going out there and making a mistake, and the defense taking advantage.
"Obviously he's made plays this year where a lot of quarterbacks can't make those plays in those situations, as far as sticking that ball in there. It's just one of those things where, if we're in those situations [this weekend], we have to take advantage of them. And we plan on trying to do that."
Despite his miscues against the Steelers, Garrard pulled off the play of the game, a designed quarterback draw on 4th-and-2 on which Garrard rumbled some 30 yards. That helped set up the Jags' game-winning field goal.
"Well, he's very accurate," Harrison said when asked to give his impressions of the 6-1, 245-pound Garrard.
"He doesn't make the big mistake, even though he had an interception or two this past week. He's very efficient on third down and can beat you running the ball, as was evidenced Saturday. The guy's playing very smart. We just have to make sure he can't beat us with his legs."
"It was a big play," Hobbs said of Garrard's long run. "You have to understand what kind of quarterback you're dealing with. A guy that can make the throws, but also can move around, and not only run the ball, but open it up to continue to keep the play alive [if chased out of the pocket] and throw it downfield to his receivers."
It's not just the bruising Garrard who impresses Hobbs and Harrison. Jacksonville's dynamic backfield duo of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew complement the tallest receiving corps on the league.
"They're not going to try to finesse you. Why would they? They're one of the biggest teams in the NFL," Hobbs reasoned. "On film, we've shown weak spots in our armor where we have been out-manned, out-physicalled sometimes on defense. So, I think they're going to come out throwing haymakers, and we're just going to have to keep swinging back."
Harrison said he takes solace in one aspect of the Jaguars physical play, which they displayed for 60 minutes against the Steelers. They're now a bit more banged up, while the Patriots are rested and ready.
"You like to see a game like that because while they're out there pounding each other's heads in, you're sitting back on the couch eating popcorn, chillin'," Harrison smiled, before getting serious again.
"It was good to see, but they'll be ready. They understand that this is a great opportunity for them. It's going to be a very physical game. And this is what you live for as a football player. You want to play in these games and get excited about it. We'll see what happens Saturday night."
The Patriots are scheduled to be back on the practice field Tuesday.