After reporting back to Gillette Stadium for workouts at various times on Wednesday, the Patriots players checked in as they put their surprise bye week behind them and moved forward with continued preparations for the Denver Broncos.
"It's a challenge but that's all about being a pro," said Adrian Phillips, currently leading the team with 25 total tackles. "When you get to the league you know you're gonna have challenges, whether it's during camp or some obstacles that you're going to have to overcome and this is just another one of those obstacles. We've been meeting as much as we can, still staying in tune to the game plan so when we get a chance to actually get back on the field, you don't miss a beat."
The team has embraced the flexibility that this season will require. The last 10 days have assured them that they know firsthand how quickly things can change this season.
"I think all of us have just fell in line with 'this is what Wednesday looks like for right now, then we'll figure out what Thursday will look like and go forward from there,'" said Devin McCourty from his home, where he spent his few days off.
"I would say the bye was going to be different anyway," said McCourty. "There wasn't gonna be any going home and seeing family, so you just kind of make do with what it is. Can you take a three-day bye? That's what I did, sit on the couch with my wife, had some wine, had a good time on the off days and enjoyed that part of it."
With the team expected to be back on the practice field on Thursday, their attention continues to be where it's been for going on two weeks, the Denver Broncos. The offseason of virtual meetings was good preparation for the challenges of only getting one in-person practice in the last week.
The players are making the best of it, knowing it comes with the job this season and that many teams will face the same challenges.
"Tennessee showed a good example... everything they went through, with how they took the field last night and just got ready to play and went out there and played good football," pointed out McCourty. The Titans had a similar topsy-turvy road to their game against the Bills but still had a strong winning performance.
"It does really challenge you to let you see how committed to the process you are because at any given time something can change and we could be on a different schedule," said Philips. "It's different but it is what it is, if you're a pro you'll adapt to it. It's all about adaption."
McCourty summed up the Patriots focus now as they lock in on the post-bye march.
"I think we're all moving forward with the thought process of let's keep each other safe and do what we have to do to stay that way and try to go out here and win football games."
Report: Newton set to return
With Field Yates' report, the Patriots will get a big boost with the return of Cam Newton. This is welcome news for the Patriots after watching their offense unable to keep pace with the Chiefs by hurting themselves with bad ball security and decisions.
There was little question Cam was the biggest piece of the Patriots offense before he missed the last game and it was even more clear after it.
Now, with Newton back under center, New England can really get their season back on track. Newton had plenty of dynamic moments in his first three games and can now resume trying to put it all together to take the Patriots offense to the next level.
Webex Quotes of Note
Devin McCourty on being reliable on the back end of the defense:
"I'm a guy that plays safety and truly believes that playing corner is way harder. When I'm out there and I communicate to those guys and I say I'm going to be somewhere, I try to make sure I'm always there. I think when I do that it reassures them that 'OK I can do this, I can do that because he's there' and then sometimes I try to surprise them and show up when they're not expecting to give them even more confidence. I think that's how secondaries work at a high level... When whoever's the free guy, when he can help as many people as possible it allows each guy to play their best, confident football. At times when we do that I think that's when we're at our best and it kind of jumps off the tape when we're playing that way and when we're not."
Adrian Phillips on the steps coach Belichick has been taking to keep the team safe:
"I think the main thing that you want to see from a coach is that you're not just a player, you're a human being, you have a family, you have feelings and certain situations might make you react a certain way. Seeing that coach actually notices that and he cares about the family and tries to make it as much family-oriented as he can and lets his players have a voice, it's encouraging to see."