Ian Rapoport notes Bill Belichick says that by this point in the season teams have been through it all, and have enough of a sample size to be evaluated.
"We have enough of a view of them that you’re not just looking at a snapshot," Belichick said. "You’re looking at a pretty good (sample). They’ve been ahead, they’ve been behind. There’s enough red area plays, there’s enough third-and-long plays, there’s enough third-and-short plays, there’s enough two-minute plays. There’s enough plays there where you can get a much better handle on what it appears that the makeup of that team is, as opposed to Week 1 or 2 where you only have a couple of plays of regular season."
Mike Reiss tells us five things we've learned about the Patriots. Here's his first:
This is one of Bill Belichick's more mentally tough teams. Unlike the 2009 season, when the Patriots went deep into late December before proving they could win in a true road game, this club checked that off the list in Week 1. Add in a Week 4 win at Oakland, and then a clutch fourth-quarter comeback against the Cowboys at home last Sunday, and a picture starts to come into focus of a team with a steely resolve.
"I thought the win against Dallas was a good, tough win for our football team that, in all honesty, we haven't had a lot of those lately," coach Bill Belichick told Showtime's "Inside the NFL" program. "The players stepped up. They made it when they had to, and you have to feel good about that, in spite of some of the other mistakes we made that day."
Some have compared that game to a Patriots-style 2003- or 2004-type win. It's well said. While there are sure to be obstacles ahead, this team seems to have a solid core to overcome them, not to mention a positive locker-room dynamic where most of the players seem to be pulling in the right direction.
Chris Forsberg lists his five things we've learned about the Patriots so far. Here's one of them.
Andre Carter has been the most important defensive free-agent pickup. When the Patriots beefed up their defensive line this offseason, much of the spotlight (and rightfully so) fell on the trade for Albert Haynesworth. Heck, even Shaun Ellis drew more headlines given the 11 years he spent on the other side of the Patriots-Jets rivalry. But no free agent -- and maybe no player on the defensive side of the ball overall -- has made a bigger impact than Carter.
After losing his starting job in Washington last year, Carter has already essentially matched his total 2010 production in six weeks with New England (23 tackles, including four for losses, and 2.5 sacks). According to PFF metrics, Carter is graded the seventh-best 4-3 defensive end in the league through six weeks, and only Tampa Bay's Michael Bennett has been better against the run.
Fresh off a two-sack effort against the Cowboys, Carter's steady play hasn't gone unnoticed. "I think he's performed well all year. I really do," said coach Bill Belichick. "I think he's had a really solid year for us. I think he's performed well pretty much since the first training camp practice. He's a very consistent, high-effort player, strong, experienced, knows what he's doing, very professional. He's been really consistent."
- Hall Speaker Series: RB Danny Woodhead will speak at the Hall at Patriot place on Thursday, Oct. 27.
- Patriots Today - Defense continues to improve. (2.14 min. video)
- Sound FX: Patriots vs. Cowboys. (3.39 min. video) You'd think Dallas won this game, right up until the very end of course. Yeesh.
- Patriots Playbook - 10/20/2011: Bye week edition. (2 hour program)
- PFW in Progress - 10/20/2011. (2 hour program)
- WEEI Patriots Friday: Patriots owner Robert Kraft (18.35 min.)
- Ian Rapoport has a terrific piece on Patrick Chung and how he credits parental guidance in preparing him for stardom and for life.
- Tim Britton says injuries may have given Nate Solder his shot, but so far he has shined.
- Mike Reiss examines the plays from the Dallas game Bill Belichick focused on in his "Belichick Breakdown" segment.
- Christopher Price charts the offensive opportunities for the Patriots' skill position players through six games.
- Tom E. Curran looks at the Patriots' defense through the first six weeks of the season.
- Christopher Price presents his Bye Week breakdown: Tight Ends and Wide Receivers.
- Chris Forsberg spotlights the Patriots' sophomore class.
- Chris Forsberg tells us what happened when Matt Light rolled his ankle while the Patriots were in no-huddle mode.
- Chad Finn writes about how well the addition of Scott Zolak to the revered broadcasting team of Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti has gone, and what it means for the future.
- Greg A. Bedard talks about which Patriots have surprised and disappointed him the most at Week 7. (3.19 min. video)
- Mike Reiss offers the transcript of his weekly online chat.
- Shalise Manza Young offers the replay of her weekly lunchtime chat.
- Tom E. Curran checks in with his 17 issues in 34 lines.
The Boston Globe offers a quick quiz to see which member of the New England Patriots you are on the same wavelength with. I'm a Wes Welker (woot!)
- Michael Hurley posts the Top 10 Halloween costume ideas for Boston sports fans. Includes 'Pirate Bill Belichcik'.
- Ian Rapoport Patriots Notebook: The Bye week is a time to take stock and although the team is 5-1, the players aren't satisfied with how they're playing; All NFL teams will have played at least six games after Monday night, leaving enough of a sample size for scouting.
- Ian Rapoport posts his random picture of the day, this one of Julian Edelman on America's Next Top Model.
- Michael Hurley makes his Week 7 picks.
- Jim Lazar hates on the bye week before making his Week 7 picks.
- Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Jerry Rice: Megatron, Fitzgerald are better than Welker.
- NFL Live (ESPN) Hot Button Debate: Can Ocho be salvaged? (2.12 min. video)
- John Mullin (CSNChicago) Meriweather sounds off on NFL's contact code.
- Gregg Doyel (CBS Sports) Enough with the stupid post-game handshakes already.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFL doesn't have independent neurologists on sidelines during games.
- Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) Week 7 picks.
- Staff Report (Nat'l Football Post) Week 7 Friday Forecast.
- Peter King (SI) Weekend Pickoff: Week 7.