Best-case scenario? Patriots win, have plenty to iron out during the bye


Best-case scenario? Patriots win, have plenty to iron out during the bye

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick's demeanor following Sunday's win over the Chargers, outside of one brief stretch during his press conference, served as an indicator that the Patriots were hitting their bye with what a coach might deem a best-case scenario.

The Patriots won, 21-13, moving their record to 6-2 at the season's midpoint. But they also proved that they had plenty to work on. Whether it's their struggles in the red zone, or how to manage personnel moving forward without Dont'a Hightower, there are more than enough areas of concern to keep everyone's attention over the course of the next week.

"No question about it," Belichick said. "We’re giving up too many big plays on defense and (offensively we) can’t convert on third down in the red area. Those are two huge issues."


The players understand it, too. They'll use the next few days for some much-needed rest -- Belichick gave them Monday and Tuesday off, as well as Thursday through Sunday -- yet there is a feeling that they are still far from a finished product with half the regular season left to play.

"Losing going into the bye week is nothing that anybody wants," Alan Branch said. "Here or anywhere in the league. Going into the bye week with a win, and just being able to build on that, and being able to smooth things out going into this little stretch, it feels pretty good."

The Patriots are currently tied with the Steelers for the best record in the AFC. The Chiefs could join them with a win Monday night over the Broncos. With just two losses, the Bills sit at 5-2 after beating the Raiders on Sunday. 

Given where they are -- despite integrating new pieces and dealing with injuries to two of their top players in Hightower and Julian Edelman -- Belichick praised his group for the toughness it has shown this season. They've played a lot of football, he reminded reporters Sunday night, with few breaks since reporting for training camp back in July.

"We’ve been going here for, you know, six weeks of preseason and eight regular season games," Belichick said. "We’ve been playing a lot of football. Every week it’s been a grind whether it’s going back to the preseason scrimmages, whether it’s the preseason games. We’ve been at it here for a long time. I ask these guys to come in every day and put in a hard day of preparation, practice, training, film study and so forth. 

"I’d say I’ve been impressed with the way they’ve done that and have been able to grind it out day after day. It’s not easy. Look, it’s a job. We don’t mind doing it -- I’m not saying that. But still, it’s hard. And every team has got good players. Every team has difficult schemes. Every team requires a lot of communication and coordination to get plays right and to get situations right . . . 

"Week after week after week or day after day after day or hour after hour, coming in at eight in the morning and grinding through it until 4:30, 5:00 at night. Those guys are working hard and it’s paying off, but they’re working hard. They’re grinding it."


Tom Brady throws to Julian Edelman in latest Instagram video

Tom Brady throws to Julian Edelman in latest Instagram video

Tom Brady posted a dual-purpose Instagram video on Sunday morning.

The one-minute video, laid over a track by Dorchester rapper Cousin Stizz, served as both an ad for TB12 Sports Therapy and confirmation (if there was any doubt) that Brady is putting in the time.

The video opens with Brady lying flat on his back in his Chestnut Hill home getting a rubdown on his right shoulder from body coach and TB12 partner Alex Guerrero.

Brady extols the importance of pliability – no man has ever done more for one word than Brady’s done for the word “pliable” – then the piece cuts to a field where Brady – in helmet and shoulder pads – is throwing to Julian Edelman.

It looks like the thing was shot at Pine Manor College. It may have been Thursday.

Beyond the Brady angle is the fact that Julian Edelman is also featured in the video.

Edelman, who also trains with Guerrero, is appealing a four-game suspension PED suspension. Guerrero released a statement reiterating TB12’s “natural, holistic, appropriate and, above all, legal approach to training and recovery for all of our clients” on the same day news of Edelman’s positive test came down.

Despite that and the fact Edelman’s positive test fostered speculation that whatever he tested positive for must have come from TB12, the video is proof Edelman isn’t being shunned by Brady or Guerrero despite the fact the positive test the negative pub it generated.


Patriots rookie Sony Michel buys his parents new cars

Patriots rookie Sony Michel buys his parents new cars

Patriots first-round draft pick Sony Michel surprised both of his parents with new cars.

Michel told the NBC Sports Boston Camera Guys all about it, saying "It's my obligation to take care of my parents. That's always been my goal, to take care of everything they need from here on out."

Michel posted photos on Friday of his parents posing next to their new rides: