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By: Bernd Buchmasser
Related: Mac Jones ready to attack bye week after last season’s post-bye struggles
The New England Patriots defense is entering its Week 10 bye off a dominant performance against the Indianapolis Colts. The unit surrendered just three points all day, notched a franchise record-tying nine sacks, and limited its opponent to just 2.0 yards per play.
The performance was so lopsided that it contributed to the Colts firing their head coach not even 24 hours later. Needless to say, the Patriots defense has a lot to feel good about — and its approach heading into the bye is a reflection of that.
Safety Adrian Phillips, after all, pointed out that the team would not be trying to “reinvent the wheel” over the coming days but rather focus on what did or did not work.
“We got some good stuff on film, so you just try to focus on that and focus on making that better,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “Some of the things that didn’t work you might tweak them just a little bit. But you don’t really go into the bye week trying to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to scrap everything that we did and start anew.’ It’s not really something that you want to do.”
Nine weeks into the season, the Patriots are ranked as the seventh best team in the NFL in points allowed (18.4/game) and first in defensive expected points added per play (-0.116). Them not trying to turn the entire operation upside down over the weekend off makes sense.
Instead, as Phillips noted, the goal would be to do some self-scouting.
“It’s a great chance for us to improve,” he said. “It’s a great chance to look at the film and self-assess what we do, and see what works and what doesn’t work. When we get out there on the practice field and not really game-planning for a team that you might have two weeks from now, or whatever it is, you’re really honing in on what you need to do to get better.
“It’s all just a fundamental day and it’s a chance for you to go out there and get better. If you go about it the right way, if you go about it saying, ‘Hey, I’m really going to go out there on the field and compete and learn from our mistakes the first nine weeks of the season,’ then you’ll get better. But if you go in there saying, ‘I’m just ready to get off the field so I can get to the rest days’ it’s not going to be productive.”
The bye week does not just offer the team a chance to reevaluate and become the best version of itself for the stretch run, but also to get away from the grind for a bit. As Phillips mentioned, the impact of it is not only a physical one but a mental one as well.
“It’s just as important physically as mentally,” he said. “If you attack it the right way and you go about it the right way, and do your recovery, disconnect from football for a couple of days, chill with your family, actually be a regular person, I think it’s good for you.
“And I think it’s a good reset. Sometimes it works for teams, sometimes it doesn’t. But I think we’re going to be one of the teams that it’ll work for.”
Originally posted on Pats Pulpit