dangolka (CBS) — It has been an fascinating two-week stretch for the New England Patriots, one which featured a handful of scheduling adjustments when COVID-19 reared its ugly head within the locker room. Sunday video games grew to become Monday video games, practices grew to become digital conferences, and finally a sport week became the group’s bye week.
However the Patriots have been again on the sphere Thursday as they put together for Sunday’s matchup with the Denver Broncos. It’s a matchup they began getting ready for final Tuesday, a minimum of nearly, as Stephon Gilmore’s optimistic COVID check pressured the group to shut down Gillette Stadium. The Pats put of their work remotely as an alternative of training, solely to see the sport get pushed again every week when Byron Cowart examined optimistic over the weekend.
Yeah, it’s been fairly the curler coaster for the Patriots the final 13 days. However the Patriots have been anticipating to expertise some sort of loops and sudden turns for the reason that begin of the season.
“We knew one thing like this would possibly occur earlier than the season, and it’s simply adapting to it. We now have an important group of vets to guide the youthful gamers alongside,” mentioned veteran defensive finish John Simon. “We put collectively a reasonably good apply right now and that’s a superb first step to constructing towards Sunday at 1 p.m.”
Thursday was New England’s first actual apply for the reason that days main as much as their Week four loss to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. They have been again at Gillette for exercises on Wednesday, however gamers admitted that it felt good to lastly be training some soccer on Thursday.
“It’s nice to get on the market and get among the mud — or rust — off, as they are saying,” mentioned edge rusher Chase Winovich, who was additionally fast to level out that Thursday was Simon’s birthday.
The hardest a part of adapting to the nice unknown throughout this season is staying sharp each mentally and bodily.
“You must do each equally,” mentioned Simon. “We had a whole lot of digital conferences, ensuring we’re staying up on the sport plan. Staying bodily sharp has been just a little tougher with not utilizing the amenities, however we got here in right now and it looks as if we’re in fairly good bodily situation. It’s a problem for us, and a problem for us on Sunday, however one we have now to step as much as.”
“I wouldn’t say it’s powerful due to the dearth of reps; it’s powerful due to the dearth of consistency and never understanding what to anticipate,” mentioned Winovich. “Once you swap issues up and do erratic issues – not that we have been doing erratic issues – the physique tends to reply in another way. The coaches are doing their finest to make the perfect of a scenario that actually isn’t anybody’s fault. COVID is COVID they usually’re taking advantage of a troublesome scenario.”
Winovich mentioned the Patriots have a giant benefit on that entrance because of the management of Invoice Belichick.
“Coach Belichick is a superb basic — of the group and the group. He’s a frontrunner of males and other people flip to him in time of battle for resolutions. It’s an honor to play with him and he all the time has a imaginative and prescient, options as to what to do,” mentioned Winovich.
Whereas the final two weeks have been stuffed with sudden turns, Winovich mentioned the down time additionally let him mirror on the beginning of the season. It was one refreshing facet of the sudden break in motion.
“COVID has allowed me to spend so much extra time at dwelling. I’ve gotten to unwind and unpack the primary a part of the season. Anytime you take care of a job as hectic – and persons are going to giggle at me saying this – there are stresses that being a soccer participant presents. Having a second, it’s actually a superb time to untie these psychological knots and actually get targeted for the final push,” he mentioned. “I’m feeling nice, feeling motivated and I’m trying ahead to the final 12 video games of the season.”
And that every one begins Sunday in opposition to the Broncos. After having a shock week off from sport motion, Winovich can’t wait to get again on the sphere on Sunday.
“I’ve a quarterback to hit,” he mentioned.