Despite his team's impressive 9-0 start to the year, it was somewhat surprising to see Bill Belichick give his team almost a full week off following New England's scintillating Week 9 win over Indy, but the players certainly weren't about to complain.
"My momma always told me the saying, 'You never turn down nothing but your collar,'" Kevin Faulk said. "So you don't turn it down, you just take it and enjoy it."
"Yes, the guys need a break, need a chance to get away from football and just really get mentally recharged," safety Rodney Harrison added. "It breaks the monotony of everything. I think it's come at a good time for us. We've been fortunate that it comes at the midpoint (of the season)."
The time off is well-deserved for the team that performed better than any other during the first half-plus of 2007. It also comes at an opportune time, just a week beyond the official halfway point of the season. For veterans especially, the time off is vital for a strong finishing kick.
"You still need a bye week," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "You can't control when the bye week is, but is it nice to have it around the middle of the season? Yes it is. We've put in a lot of weeks in a row. After nine games and a training camp and the work we've put into it, to have a break at this point, I think it's well-timed."
Harrison, who seemed to just be getting into playmaking shape against the Colts after missing the first month of 2007 to a league suspension, was also open to the extended rest.
"It doesn't matter, any time you get a chance to rest and spend some time with the family I think it helps," said Harrison, who will turn 35 next month. "We've still got seven weeks to go, so it's good to take some time and get healthy."
It's not just the team's elder statesmen like Bruschi and Harrison that welcomed the break. Tight end Benjamin Watson, who missed a pair of games while recovering from an ankle injury sustained in Dallas, looked forward to the time off as well.
"It's nice to heal up, especially for the couple of guys who have injuries," Watson said. "But it's always fun to play every week too. We're resting. It's just good to take a break and get away from football a little bit and then come back ready to finish up."
The bye week also offers time for Belichick and his staff to perform some self-scouting in an effort to improve by the time the team returns for a Week 11 Sunday night trip to Buffalo to take on the Bills. On the surface that task would seem to be a difficult one given the team's success. Not so according to Belichick.
"There's a lot of data there on what we've done, what we've done well, what we haven't done well, maybe there's trends, things that are improving, maybe there's things that are kind of heading in the wrong direction," the coach said.
"You take a look at your self-scouting stuff and see what kind of tendencies you're developing. You talk about some personnel things. That doesn't mean that what was good in the first nine games is going to be good in the next seven games, but at least it gives you more perspective. It's hard to keep up with that on a weekly basis. You do, but not on the same level of examination that we would be able to do this week."