Players have been given the day off, and will return to practice Wednesday as they prepare for Sunday's home game against the surprising Indianapolis Colts. Just 2-14 a season ago, the Colts are 6-3 and winners of four straight games, working their way into the playoff discussion while playing for coach Chuck Pagano, who is fighting leukemia, and being led by rookie quarterbackk Andrew Luck, the No. 1 pick in this year's NFL Draft.
Tuesday usually means a teleconference with head coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. The three were asked about Luck, the Colts, Pagano, and new arrival Aqib Talib, who figures to start at cornerback against the Colts in his Patriots' debut.
A sampling of what the coaches had to say:
Belichick, asked about his team's poor tackling in a 37-31 win against the Bills, said, "I don't have any excuses for it. We've just got to do a better job of coaching it, got to do a better job of executing it. Buffalo's got a lot of good skill players, their guys are hard to tackle, but we're going to see that every week, every team's going to have players that are hard too tackle, that's what NFL offensive players are, that's why they're in the NFL. We just have to fundamentally do a better job at that, and coach it better, and hopefully we'll be able to do that this week."
Patricia said he spent some introductory time with Talib on Monday, and is anxious to get him on the field. "I had the opportunity to meet with him yesterday and kind of get caught up a little bit, so that was all good," Patricia said. "Professional, guy's been in the league, so no problems there."
As for his expectations for Talib?
"I think we'll have to wait and see, evaluate it as the week goes on," Patricia said. "But obviously, like all of our players, we expect them to come in and work hard, try to get on board with what we're doing as soon as they can, really get out there and contribute in any way that we feel is positive for the team."
For the first time all season, McDaniels had the services of tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who had been on the injured list. No balls were thrown Shiancoe's way against the Bills, but McDaniels still liked what he saw.
"The way the game ended up, we ended up with a lot more single tight end groupings, so we used Visanthe and [tight end] Danny Fells a little less than what we could have," McDaniels said. "But he went in there and handled his role. He went in there, did his job, and we'll try to build on that this week."