As New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick once said, “Every long week has a short week. Every short week has a long week.”
After playing, and beating, the Indianapolis Colts on just four days of rest, the Patriots have a “long week” to prepare for their matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. The Patriots typically watch film from the previous game Monday, have Tuesday off, then practice Wednesday through Friday. The Patriots had the weekend off, so they reported back to Gillette Stadium on Monday and are practicing Tuesday through Friday this week.
Could the longer week be beneficial to the development of newer players on the roster like wide receiver Josh Gordon, running back Kenjon Barner and defensive end John Simon?
“I guess any extra time can be helpful if you use it properly or productively, so that’s a good thing,” Belichick said Tuesday on a conference call. “As far as our team goes, I mean, we have a lot of guys that played a lot of football. We’ve basically been going at it here since the end of July with no more than a day or two off.
“So, a player that hasn’t been here as long has a little bit of extra time to go over some material or watch film or something, but it’s not like we’re going to spend a lot of extra time on the practice field because we have to take all the other players into consideration that have played a lot of football. And, rest and recovery and being able to work through the bumps and bruises that come with a competitive NFL season, it’s hard to do. You never have enough time to do all that. You’re always fighting that schedule. So, I think it’s limited. There’s some opportunity, but I think it’s limited.”
Gordon played 18 snaps in each of his first two games with the Patriots. The short week before Thursday’s win over the Colts could have limited his ability to continue progressing in the Patriots’ offense.
“You know, a Thursday night game takes a lot out of you,” Belichick said. “It takes a lot out of everybody — players, coaches — because you take four days and you just cram everything you have into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And so, I would say that the day after the game is not — and you’re playing at night — but the day after the game is not a normal day after the game because you’ve had several days behind that really going all the way back into the weekend — Friday, Saturday, Sunday — those days are more than what they normally are because you know what’s ahead on the Thursday game.
“So, by the time the game’s over, I’d say there’s a longer recovery period than after a normal game. And again, that’s for all players and coaches. So, it’s not really like you’re where you would normally be on the day after a game.”
Gordon has four catches for 88 yards and a touchdown so far with the Patriots. He caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady on Thursday night.
Brady has expressed his trust in Gordon this week. We’ll find out Sunday night if Gordon sees an uptick in snaps with some extra time for the Patriots’ playbook, and New England might need that to beat the Chiefs in its toughest matchup of the season.