FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots have hit the halfway point of their regular season and will enjoy a weekend off during Week 9. The bye week comes on the heels of a 45-7 win over the St. Louis Rams in London in which the team played arguably its most complete game of 2012.
On Thursday, quarterback Tom Brady talked about the impact and importance of the bye weekend, and the convenience of it occurring exactly at the midseason point.
"It's nice when it (the bye week) comes halfway through the year so you have a nice sample size to see what you're doing well and what you're not doing well," he said. "I know the coaches have been hard at work these past few days to identify some of those things, and that's a lot of what we'll go over today, and we'll go out and practice."
Brady said that the bye week is an opportunity to take advantage of free time to engage in self-evaluation that isn't readily available during a normal week of preparation.
"You just don't have that much time during the regular season because you're trying to prepare for your opponent," Brady said. "With no opponent, you try to focus on things you can do better and there's certainly a lot of things that I think we can do better."
Brady stressed the importance of focusing on technique and fundamentals.
"You're always trying to improve individually in your techniques and the fundamentals," he said. "You can get a lot of work over that time in training camp, because once again, you don't really have an opponent," he continued. "So you focus on your own techniques and fundamentals, which lead to good execution within a scheme. And then once you start playing, it's all scheme, you don't have a lot of time to work on the fundamentals stuff. This week, for the players, it’s fundamentals, it’s techniques."
He said he leaves the schematic side of preparation to the coaches.
"The scheme stuff is what the coaches are doing, that's their job, and what they spent a lot of time trying to improve on," Brady added. "And that's equally as important, and when we come [back] next week and Buffalo is our opponent, then players have improved and the coaches have talked to the players about what they need to improve and hopefully you move forward with more awareness of what you need to do so you can be that much better as the season goes along."
Brady recently spoke about the importance of a team playing its best football at the end of the season, something that the Patriots have a history of doing. He cited consistency and not riding the wave of emotions as critical to executing down the stretch.
"And I think it's important, as I've said, to not really ride the roller-coaster of the season, the highs of the winning and the lows of the losing," he said. "When you have a bad game, you can't have another bad game which leads to a bad month and then you have to be nearly perfect the rest of the way. When you lose a game, you have to put it behind you, you have to move forward and if you lose again, you've got to do the same thing. I think that's ... to try to get the things that we've been good at it, things that we're consistently doing better than other things, I think that's what most important and that leads to better execution over the course of the season."