FOXBORO -- Chris Long is starting out his week by lying to himself. To get prepared to play on a Thursday night, it's simply part of the process.
"I start by pretending this is not Monday," Long said. "This is effectively . . . What the hell day is it? Thursday? It's like a Thursday. I just trick my mind into thinking it's Thursday right now, and we are playing a Sunday night game. Wake up tomorrow and it'll be Friday."
Long and the Patriots have about three days to get themselves ready for Houston. The mental challenges are clear: There's a lot of studying to do and very little time. The physical demands can be just as taxing if not more so.
Long, who turned 31 in March, appeared to be as healthy as anyone on the Patriots defense in Sunday's 31-24 win over the Dolphins. He finished the game as the team's most productive pass-rusher, registering six total pressures, including four hits and one tackle for a loss. He also batted a pass at the line of scrimmage, recovered a fumble, and two of his hits led to pass attempts that were intercepted.
He explained that this week will be a little bit different than most others when it comes to recovery. The process won't change, but the volume will.
"[You do] the same things you do every week but just more of it," he said. "I think sleep is always important. Hydration. All that stuff. There's no magic potion. You just gotta do what you do every week, and just do that some more. That's how you get ready for a short week."
Though he was still clearly in the process of fooling his mind into thinking it was a different day on the calendar, Long said that the physical aspect of things won't be as difficult.
"I can trick my body," he said with a smile.