Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady have had a great deal of success in games following the bye. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Through the first three games of the season, the Patriots have scored 119 points, a franchise record after three games of a season, and Tom Brady has thrown nine touchdown passes.
With their bye week occurring in Week 3, the first possible week, some thought this might slow down the offense’s momentum.
Going back to past games following bye weeks and the way the Patriots conduct practices, this shouldn’t be an issue.
In games following the bye week with Brady as quarterback (doesn’t include 2008 season), the Patriots are 10-3 and have averaged 28.3 points per game along with averaging 343 yards of total offense. This includes last season’s 42-point, 503 total yard performance in their rout of the Colts.
Some of this should be credited to the way the team practices, as their practices are some of the most demanding in the entire league.
“Practice is tough and we try to purposely make it difficult on our players, on whatever it is that we are trying to do during the week to get ready for that opponent so that we see the most difficult looks, so that we make our players aware of the things that could certainly affect the game in a negative fashion,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said on Tuesday’s conference call. “There are days where we practice well. I would say very few days where we go out there and everything is perfect, and that’s designed that way. We challenge our guys and challenge what we are trying to do for the game plan and make sure we feel good about it going into the weekend.”
“During the bye week, coming off the bye week, the most important thing for us is not looking back in the past. We have things we want to work on,” McDaniels added. “At the same time we have an opponent that we don’t know very well, a group of players that we don’t know very well, a totally different scheme than some of the things we’ve seen in the first three games that we need to familiarize ourselves with pretty quickly. Our time is going to be spent really focused on working on trying to improve on some of the areas that we need to get better in and at the same time really doing a good job of trying to familiarize ourselves with Dallas, their personnel, their schemes, how they play and how they’ve been effective against other teams’ offenses.”
This season following the bye, the Patriots will face the 2-2 Cowboys in Dallas. They will luck out by not having to deal with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, who are both out with injuries, but Dallas will get defensive end Greg Hardy and linebacker Rolando McClain back from their four-game suspensions to open the season.
McDaniels knows his offensive will be tested with these players coming back.
“This is going to be a big test for us obviously in a place where we haven’t played before against a group that as we said we are going to try to get familiar with quickly on the road in a hostile environment and the two guys they are getting back will only add to the group of players that we are studying,” he said. “McClain is very good inside, finds the ball, intelligent, long, can be disruptive in the passing game, he’s a good blitzer, he’s a good tackler, this is a guy who does a lot of really good things in the middle of the defense.
“Hardy coming back, we played against him a couple of years ago. We understand the type of athlete and toughness, physicality, edge ability. They can move him inside and play him in there as well along with the other seven or eight defensive linemen that are going to rotate in there also. It only makes the group better having these two guys back. Certainly, it’s a very good unit, very well coach. Coach [Rod] Marinelli and his staff do a great job. You can see that on a week-to-week basis and we’ve got a big, big challenge ahead of us this week.”
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