FOXBORO, Mass. — Some notes and nuggets from Thursday’s New England Patriots media availability at Gillette Stadium:
— The Patriots are preparing for a rare Monday night trip to Buffalo, which hasn’t hosted “Monday Night Football” since the Bills and Cleveland Browns squared off under the lights at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Nov. 17, 2008 — just shy of 10 years ago.
Given that decade-long wait, it’s safe to expect a raucous and rowdy atmosphere at New Era Field, despite the fact the Bills sit at just 2-5 and boast the worst offense in the NFL.
“In our division, all these teams play us tough, especially going to Buffalo Monday night,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. “I’ve said it before — it’s one of those away games where we have no fans there. Like, even the couple of fans that come, they won’t take over that stadium. The Buffalo fans will be there. They’ll be giving us the middle fingers as soon as we get in town.
“Most teams, it’s when you pull in the stadium. There, it’s as soon as you get within a couple miles of the stadium, like they’ll be ready to go. So I don’t think that’s a problem at all this game because we know their team. We play them often. We know they’re going to come out and fight and give us a good game.”
McCourty said both teams will feed off the energy provided by 70,000-plus Bills Mafia members, many of whom will have just completed a 10-hour tailgate binge.
“It’s obviously going to be negative energy towards us,” McCourty said, “but you’re talking about Monday Night Football, in Buffalo, for a division game. I think one thing I’ve learned here is every time we go on the road to play a team in a big game, it changes for that team. So it’s not like they’re coming in here 2-5 like, ‘Let’s get this game over with.’ They’re like, ‘This is where we turn our season around. We beat the Patriots on Monday Night Football, we turn it around.’
“Being 2-5 and 5-2 in this league, it’s different, but you go on a winning streak, you have a totally different season. … And I know that’s not going to be a game where we come in and it’s like the stadium’s half-empty. It’s not going to be like that. When we get there, that stadium’s going to be packed, we’re going to be getting booed, we’re going to get the middle fingers. It’s going to be a high-energy atmosphere.”
— Patriots running back James White has received high praise from several members of the Patriots organization this week after he turned in another strong performance in Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bears.
“I think for us, James is like that guy that does no wrong,” McCourty said. “Like, I always talk to (offensive coordinator) Josh McDaniels about that, and he always says that James is his guy because you tell him something one time, he does it. You tell him, ‘Don’t fumble the ball,’ (and) he’s high and tight all the time. It’s when you watch him, you see. …
“I think for us as a defense, we know when we go out there on Sunday, if James is in there on any capacity, any role, we have complete confidence even if we don’t know what that is just because of the type of worker he is and how consistent he is.”
Bill Belichick earlier this week said White “asks questions like a coach would ask them,” and White said he might consider coaching once his playing days are over. McCourty believes he needs to change a few things first, though.
“He’s just too quiet right now,” the longtime team co-captain said. “We’ve got to get him to talk a little bit more. And he’s probably too nice. He’s got to be a little meaner. But knowledge, he has.”
Thumbnail photo via Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports Images