As Bill Belichick likes to say, for every long week, there’s a short week.
This one is the latter for the New England Patriots.
After thumping the New York Jets 33-0 at MetLife Stadium on Monday, the Patriots have just six days to prepare for this Sunday’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns, who are coming off their bye week. As a result, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was running on very little sleep when he spoke with reporters on a conference call Tuesday morning.
“I’ve been in a room since 4:30 this morning talking about the Browns,” McDaniels said, explaining why he didn’t want to comment on the Patriots’ reported trade for wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.
For context, Patriots-Jets wrapped up just before 11:30 p.m. ET in East Rutherford, N.J. Five hours later, McDaniels and his fellow Patriots coaches were at Gillette Stadium, beginning their preparations Week 8.
“When you come back from a Monday nighter on the road, it’s already Tuesday, obviously,” McDaniels said. “So you’re kind of a day behind. Not that we haven’t worked ahead on Cleveland, which we have, but you’ve got to come in on Tuesday morning like it’s a Tuesday and be ready to go. So our staff, they always do a great job of being prepared and ready for a short week. They did it a couple weeks ago with the (Thursday night) Giant game, and now this one’s a different style of week, because there’s a few extra days, but it’s the same thing. You don’t get a whole lot of sleep after a Monday night game. You come in, and you get right to work on the next opponent and try to get moving forward with them and try to be as prepared as you usually would on a normal Wednesday if you had two days to prepare.”
The Patriots have not faced the Browns since 2016 and never had played against two of Cleveland’s two young pillars, quarterback Baker Mayfield and edge rusher Myles Garrett. The Browns entered this season with sky-high expectations after adding superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a team that fell just short of the postseason a season ago, but they’ve underachieved thus far, winning just two of their first six games under new head coach Freddie Kitchens.
“This is a team that we obviously don’t know very well,” McDaniels said. “They’re talented. They’re physical. They’re disruptive. I think they’re one of the league leaders in tackles for loss. They get after the quarterback. They challenge you with some scheme things. We’ve coached against (Browns defensive coordinator Steve) Wilks before, so we’re a little bit familiar with the system, but we’re really getting familiar with the players and the way they’re used in their system and, again, just cramming as much as we can quickly and making sure we’re ready to go for (Wednesday), because it’s a quick turnaround.”
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images