The Patriots were able to finally get on the practice field on Saturday after having their week turned upside down by Stephon Gilmore's reported positive test for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Since then, the team has avoided any further positive tests, opening the door to their first team gathering since leaving Kansas City on Monday night.
"One thing that we've learned this year repeatedly has been we have to be ready to adjust and adapt to changes and modifications in the way we do things and in some cases decisions that really come down to a very short amount of time that we have to be ready to adjust to," explained Belichick. "We're certainly taking things day by day, probably hour by hour would be more accurate.
"It's been the support staff, the coaching staff, the players, the entire organization. As things have changed, which they continually have, we've tried to respond and react to those as quickly and efficiently and correctly as we possibly can. I think that overall we've done a pretty good job of that."
With questioning swirling about which quarterback might get the start after both played in Kansas City, Belichick stressed that no decisions about anything had been made yet, at any position.
Check out photos of the Patriots practicing at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in preparation for their Week 5 game against the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
"We haven't done anything together except have virtual meetings, so I'm not sure where we are in a lot of cases," said Belichick. "We haven't even had an in-person staff meeting. We haven't been able to talk about things, but talking about things is one thing. Doing them, that's a whole other story. We'll take it as it comes."
And what's coming is a young Broncos team that has had a full week of regular preparation, including an extra day, to get ready for New England. Belichick eyed a speedy team that still had plenty of healthy firepower available to give the Patriots a tough challenge.
"They have some very disruptive players," said Belichick when asked to assess the Broncos. "Vic [Fangio] does a good job of putting them in positions that are harder for the offense to handle them or deal with them. They're a good situational football team offensively and in the kicking game. They're a very explosive team. They've got a lot of speed."
The lack of practice time might be a detriment but Belichick was clear about what mattered most and why the team took extraordinary measures to prevent a bigger outbreak.
"We have to maintain the integrity of not only our football team, but also the extended team – our families and the loved ones for every member of our team," said Belichick. "That's got to come first.
"That's our approach, that's the way I look at it, and I know that's the way Mr. [Robert] Kraft looks at it, and that's what we're going to continue to do. We'll put the team first and that's our philosophy. "
Patriots-Broncos Stat Check
|Stats||Patriots (2-2)||Broncos (1-3)|
|Offensive Points||24.3 (22nd)||20.5 (28th)|
|Offensive 3rd Down||13th (43.8%)||24th (38.0%)|
|Offensive Passing DVOA||26th||29th|
|Offensive Rushing DVOA||3rd||21st|
|Offensive Red Zone||23rd (55.6%)||29th (46.2%)|
|Turnover Ratio||+1 (t-13th)||-6 (t-31st)|
|Defensive Points||23.0 (t-8th)||24.5 (14th)|
|Defensive Third Down||36.8 (4th)||39.7 (10th)|
|Defensive Passing DVOA||27th||15th|
|Defensive Rushing DVOA||19th||9th|
|Defensive Red Zone||13th (58.3%)||6th (46.2%)|
|Special Teams DVOA||14th||21st|
Practice & Injury Report
The Patriots returned to the upper fields for the first time since before the regular season started for their only on-field practice in preparation for the Broncos. As expected, Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore were not present, while Devin McCourty was also absent but according to NFL Network's Mike Giardi it was not due to illness or injury and he's still expected to suit up on Monday night.
DL Adam Butler (shoulder) - LP
WR Julian Edelman (knee) - LP
G Shaq Mason (calf) - LP
S Devin McCourty (not injury related) - DNP
T Isaiah Wynn (calf) - LP
OLB Jeremiah Attaochu (quadricep) - DNP
RB LeVante Bellamy (knee) - DNP
TE Noah Fant (ankle) - DNP
WR KJ Hamler (hamstring) - DNP
WebEx Quotes of Note
Damien Harris on the past week of preparation:
"It's definitely been unique. It's been very different than obviously what we're used to. It's a challenge that we are faced with and something that we have to overcome. But it felt good getting out there today, finally being able to get on the field and get some work in. It's a big step in our preparation for this game. Being able to get out there and get a good practice in, it was a good opportunity for us and hopefully that will transition into our game."
Jason McCourty on not getting into a routine:
"It's definitely been frustrating. The one thing we are accustomed to as players as we become kind of routine-oriented. Each Wednesday is Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and follow through throughout the course of the week. Obviously starting with last week being forced to fly out and playing a game then fly back was definitely not ideal situation at all.
Lawrence Guy on how the defense can build off of their performance in KC:
We play a good fundamentals, we play down by down. That's the biggest thing that has to do with the run, you can't think about trying to make the big play. It's just, you do your assignment, you do what you gotta do and that plays that are meant for you to make are going to be there. When you go all aggressive and try to do too much and not do your job, holes come in and everything starts falling apart. We just got a build off of last Monday to this Monday and continue to grow what we need to grow and fix what we need to fix."