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Quick Kicks: Patriots back in New England

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BYE, BYE, LONDON — The Patriots and their extensive travel party wait to board their Boston-bound flight at London Heathrow Airport Monday morning. The team is back in Foxborough enjoying their bye week in the schedule.

The last touchdown the Patriots scored might have been their most important. With Hurricane Sandy steamrolling toward the East Coast of the U.S., Bill Belichick's football team raced home from the United Kingdom, touching down at Logan International Airport in Boston four hours earlier than scheduled Monday to beat Sandy to the punch.

After a wildly successful second trip to London in franchise history, the Patriots can now take their time and catch their collective breath as their next date on the calendar is the bye week. Players were given today and tomorrow, Halloween, off. They'll return to Gillette Stadium Thursday for practice, meetings, and the usual daily routine before heading their separate ways. They'll have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. In all likelihood, they'll be back at the facility on Monday, but probably won't set foot on the practice field again until next Tuesday.

In the meantime, Belichick and his staff and beginning preparations for the next opponent, the Buffalo Bills, but also spending a good amount of time this week on self-evaluation, to whatever extent they can.

"That's part of it," Belichick told reporters via conference call late today. "It's a combination of things: statistical information, what we've done, how productive it has or hasn't been, in all aspects. See what tendencies we've created, whether we're happy with those or want to change them. Look at the individual plays or groups of plays, seeing if there's something that jumps out, or go into it looking for something and see what we can find. Then take a look at how other teams have played us and if there's a trend there."

"You can't get everything in a bye week. It's too short, in terms of the time with the players," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels added. "If you try to tackle 100 things, you probably don't get anything accomplished."

McDaniels admitted he was pleased with this unit's performance Sunday in London, putting up 45 points in a rout of the St. Louis Rams.

"When you go into any week, you hope to put together a plan that gives your guys a chance to execute… and hopefully be productive, and then the players play the way they did, it always makes you feel good.

"We took care of the football, maintained a good balance between our run and pass games, had some good production in third-down, red zone, two-minute offense. I thought our guys did a good job executing against some different looks that we hadn't seen. St. Louis presented us with some different challenges that we hadn't necessarily prepared for, but our guys followed their rules and reacted."

McDaniels stressed that there are "plenty of things over the course of a game that you can do better," including being more consistent in adjusting to defenses the way they did at Wembley Stadium this past weekend. That's one of the areas the Patriots will try to focus on during their self-scouting time this bye week.

The coaching staff has been fortunate that the massive storm hasn't impacted the Foxborough area too severely, the way Hurricane Irene did in August 2011. Gillette did lose power for several hours, but the facility's generators kept the juice flowing until regular power was restored, allowing the coaches to work without interruption.

"So far, it's been normal. We've been inside the protective walls of the stadium today," continued Belichick, "so, I don't know how good or bad it is out there."

Of course, bye weeks aren't all about work. In fact, they're suppose to be about rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation, for body and mind, for everyone involved in a football squad. And during this year's respite, falling perfectly at mid-season for New England, Belichick's message to his squad is no different than any other year.

"The most important thing for all of us is just to be careful," he said. "Use good judgment… come back with a fresh attitude, ready to go."

Note: Immediately following the conference calls, ESPN Boston reported that the Patriots had released veteran linebacker Bobby Carpenter. The team confirmed the move a short time later.

BYE, BYE, LONDON — The Patriots and their extensive travel party wait to board their Boston-bound flight at London Heathrow Airport Monday morning. The team is back in Foxborough enjoying their bye week in the schedule.

The last touchdown the Patriots scored might have been their most important. With Hurricane Sandy steamrolling toward the East Coast of the U.S., Bill Belichick's football team raced home from the United Kingdom, touching down at Logan International Airport in Boston four hours earlier than scheduled Monday to beat Sandy to the punch.

After a wildly successful second trip to London in franchise history, the Patriots can now take their time and catch their collective breath as their next date on the calendar is the bye week. Players were given today and tomorrow, Halloween, off. They'll return to Gillette Stadium Thursday for practice, meetings, and the usual daily routine before heading their separate ways. They'll have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. In all likelihood, they'll be back at the facility on Monday, but probably won't set foot on the practice field again until next Tuesday.

In the meantime, Belichick and his staff and beginning preparations for the next opponent, the Buffalo Bills, but also spending a good amount of time this week on self-evaluation, to whatever extent they can.

"That's part of it," Belichick told reporters via conference call late today. "It's a combination of things: statistical information, what we've done, how productive it has or hasn't been, in all aspects. See what tendencies we've created, whether we're happy with those or want to change them. Look at the individual plays or groups of plays, seeing if there's something that jumps out, or go into it looking for something and see what we can find. Then take a look at how other teams have played us and if there's a trend there."

"You can't get everything in a bye week. It's too short, in terms of the time with the players," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels added. "If you try to tackle 100 things, you probably don't get anything accomplished."

McDaniels admitted he was pleased with this unit's performance Sunday in London, putting up 45 points in a rout of the St. Louis Rams.

"When you go into any week, you hope to put together a plan that gives your guys a chance to execute… and hopefully be productive, and then the players play the way they did, it always makes you feel good.

"We took care of the football, maintained a good balance between our run and pass games, had some good production in third-down, red zone, two-minute offense. I thought our guys did a good job executing against some different looks that we hadn't seen. St. Louis presented us with some different challenges that we hadn't necessarily prepared for, but our guys followed their rules and reacted."

McDaniels stressed that there are "plenty of things over the course of a game that you can do better," including being more consistent in adjusting to defenses the way they did at Wembley Stadium this past weekend. That's one of the areas the Patriots will try to focus on during their self-scouting time this bye week.

The coaching staff has been fortunate that the massive storm hasn't impacted the Foxborough area too severely, the way Hurricane Irene did in August 2011. Gillette did lose power for several hours, but the facility's generators kept the juice flowing until regular power was restored, allowing the coaches to work without interruption.

"So far, it's been normal. We've been inside the protective walls of the stadium today," continued Belichick, "so, I don't know how good or bad it is out there."

Of course, bye weeks aren't all about work. In fact, they're suppose to be about rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation, for body and mind, for everyone involved in a football squad. And during this year's respite, falling perfectly at mid-season for New England, Belichick's message to his squad is no different than any other year.

"The most important thing for all of us is just to be careful," he said. "Use good judgment… come back with a fresh attitude, ready to go."

Note: Immediately following the conference calls, ESPN Boston reported that the Patriots had released veteran linebacker Bobby Carpenter. The team confirmed the move a short time later.

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