Patriots Bye Week Notes

Tedy Bruschi has made it through his first day of practice unscathed. In a bye week, teams usually refrain from full contact, preferring to just run through formations, conditioning and some game plan material. Bruschi admits he had some apprehension for his return. News, notes, and player updates on the midweek New England Patriots Report.

Patriots Bye Week Notes
By Site Staff

GENERAL NOTES

--Coach Bill Belichick makes no promises about ILB Tedy Bruschi suiting up for the Patriots' next game, Oct. 30 against Buffalo. "I love Tedy Bruschi," Belichick said. "He's been a significant player for our team. We'll see how it goes (in practice over the next two weeks). Nobody has a crystal ball."

Bruschi, who practiced Wednesday for the first time since suffering a stroke at his home in February, pronounced himself pleased with his first full workout.

"I had a good amount of nerves," he said. "If you haven't done something in a long time, you always have some nerves the first time back. I had some good reads and had some bad reads. All of that comes with (this) being the first day (back). I think I made some progress out there today."

Said fellow LB Mike Vrabel, "I think it's awesome. I think it's great to have him back. For him to come to this decision and be with this football team means a lot."

--RB Amos Zereoue needs to check in with the equipment department. His name was misspelled on his road jersey in Sunday's loss in Denver. (The "o" and the "u" near the end were flipped.) If it had been incorrect for the previous week's game in Atlanta, no one had noticed. Zereoue didn't pick up the mistake this time. When asked about it in the locker room on Wednesday, he expressed surprise, saying, "Get outta here! I'll have to check that out."

Spell it any way you like, but at least Zereoue got some carries against the Broncos - his first since signing with the Patriots on Sept. 28. Zereoue, who came on board after third-down back Kevin Faulk was lost indefinitely with a broken foot, carried seven times for 14 yards against Denver, although he did have a 12-yard run.

"You have to make a good impression," said Zereoue, a seventh-year pro. "Hopefully the coaches feel I did. But I think I could have done better."

--K Adam Vinatieri will get to play three of his next four games at home. That should give the Patriots a leg up, so to speak.

Including playoff games, Vinatieri has hit 55 of 65 field goal attempts at Gillette Stadium since it opened in 2002 - a success rate of 84.6 percent. The swirling winds, courtesy of the park's open-ended design, have been much harder for opposing kickers to get a handle on. Opponents have converted just 31 of 48 attempts (64.6 percent) at Gillette. From 30 yards and beyond, the difference is even greater, with Vinatieri connecting at 77.5 percent (31 of 40) and opponents at 51.4 percent (18 of 35).

Since 2002, Gillette has been the second-toughest building for opposing kickers, trailing only Chicago's Soldier Field, which was not used in 2002 because it was undergoing renovations.

BY THE NUMBERS: 377.8 - The Patriots' average number of yards of total offense per game. That ranks No. 2 in the AFC and puts them on pace to break the franchise record of 372.8, set in 1978.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "There's a man upstairs (team owner Bob Kraft) who says measure nine times and cut once. He's told me this throughout the process. We've measured a lot of times. I believe we've done that. We've made sure." - LB Tedy Bruschi on the extent to which he and wife got assurances from doctors that he is not risking his health by returning to the NFL just eight months after suffering a stroke.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The bye week might be a chance for the Patriots to address their poor tackling, which has hurt them on several occasions this season.

"As you get into the season and game planning ... the fundamentals, nobody spends as much time on them," coach Bill Belichick said. "We don't. I don't think anybody does. You can't and still get all the scheme things taken care of that you need to handle. To whatever degree we can address that, we will. There are a lot of priorities. That can be one of them."

The Patriots were scheduled to practice on Thursday. Their plans beyond that were unclear, although the coaches will spend whatever down time there is doing some self-scouting and getting ahead on preparations for their next game, against the Bills on Oct. 30.

--The options at strong safety continue to dwindle. Having already lost Rodney Harrison for the season, the Patriots on Wednesday shelved second-year pro Guss Scott, who joined Harrison on injured reserve with a knee problem. Scott started the first two games after Harrison went down, but he sat out last week's loss in Denver, giving way to rookie fourth-round pick James Sanders. Sanders, who had missed the first four games with an ankle injury, was hurt against the Broncos and missed the second half. Veteran Arturo Freeman, who signed four days before the game, finished up.

--The Patriots re-signed CB Hank Poteat. Poteat, 28, originally signed with the Patriots in January and played in all three of their playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXIX against Philadelphia. Belichick said Poteat's knowledge of the defense "definitely helped" the decision to bring him back.

--The Patriots re-signed WR Andre' Davis, less than a month after releasing him. The team traded a fifth-round draft pick to Cleveland for him on Aug. 22, but he was inactive for the first three games of the regular season as he nursed a foot injury. Davis was released on Sept. 28.

--The Patriots released LB Wesly Mallard for the second time in a month.

PLAYER NOTES

--DE Richard Seymour said he hopes to return after the bye week. Seymour has missed the last two games with a knee injury he suffered while playing goal-line fullback against the Chargers. He was back at practice on Wednesday.

--LB Monty Beisel returned to practice on Wednesday. He sat out last Thursday and Friday when he was hospitalized for an infected finger. Beisel played against the Broncos and finished with five tackles.

--WR Troy Brown missed practice on Wednesday. Brown sat out last week with a foot injury.

--WR Deion Branch ranks second in the AFC and is tied for fourth in the NFL with 37 catches.

--P Josh Miller had a season-long 58-yard punt in Denver. Miller ranks fourth in the league in gross average (46.8 yards) and 11th in net average (38.5 yards).


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