Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/19/14
The bye week is often a time for NFL teams to reflect on their season so far and to make adjustments as most prepare for what they hope to be a long playoff run. Like most NFL players, many Patriots players spent their bye week at home with family or traveling to exotic locations to enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation. But after some quality reflection and self-evaluation over the past week, they’ve since returned to Gillette and are feeling refreshed. While they all seem focused on Sunday’s game against the Bills, they all believe that time away from the game and the team will only stand to benefit them as they gear up for the home stretch. “Well, it’s nice. It’s a nice little break for a few days,” Tom Brady said of the week away. “Yeah, it came at a good time for us, so hopefully guys used it well and like I said, you come back refreshed.” Bill Belichick understands the importance of a little R&R for his players in order to regroup and prepare for the second half of the season. “Sometimes, let’s face it, we all get mentally tired. It’s a long season, it’s a lot of practices, a lot of meetings, a lot of everything,” Belichick said. “Sometimes it drags a little bit. You give the players the information, they’re hearing it. Sometimes it’s absorbed a little bit more with more attentiveness than others.” After a 5-3 start to the season, the same exact record they sported at this point last year, the Patriots could use a little rejuvenation. There’s still plenty of room for improvement across the roster, something each player knows and willingly accepts. But Belichick is already feeling the revitalization from the Patriots players on their return to work. “I think we all feel it, sure, [yes],” Belichick said of recharging during the time off. “Attentiveness, energy, receptiveness to new ideas or the new game plan, new adjustments, things that are going to be moving parts to the week.” This week’s opponent is a familiar one, so the Patriots shouldn’t have too much trouble preparing for a Bills team they demolished 52-28 already this season. But, more importantly, now with a well-rested group, the Patriots should be ready for some tough tests — Houston and San Francisco to name a few — in the second half of the season. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
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