The New England Patriots knew they needed a fast and decisive turnaround entering Week 8 off a Monday night loss at the hands of the Chicago Bears. In order to accomplish that goal, they invested some extra time.
Quarterback Mac Jones and running back Rhamondre Stevenson said as much during their media availability following the Patriots’ 22-17 victory over the New York Jets. They claimed that the offense spent some time together outside of its regular meeting hours with the goal of getting on the same page and operating faster.
“Just talking through some things and watching extra film together was obviously very beneficial, and getting more reps in our own time and talking through things,” Jones said. “Whenever we had questions we were just more, ‘How do we do this? What do we need to do here?’ Obviously, that’s important; you want to be on the same page.”
Especially early on in the game against the Jets, the Patriots offense had a rough outing. The unit eventually settled down in the early second half, going on a six-play, 62-yard drive to take a 13-10 lead on a Mac Jones touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers.
That drive was as good as the New England offense has looked all year, and it started with Stevenson breaking tackles en route to a 35-yard gain. After that play, Jones quickly directed his teammates back to the line of scrimmage to continue operating quick and in no-huddle fashion.
For Stevenson, speeding up the operation was one of the goals of the extracurricular activities in the week leading up to the game.
“Just watching any extra film on our down time is going to help us tremendously,” he said. “I thought that’s what it did. It was just the whole team coming together. We knew we had to get a win, we had to be focused on the Jets this week. So, we had a couple of extra film sessions and it helped. ...
“Just being familiar with the plays we were going to call, and just knowing our game plan for that day, making sure everyone knows their assignment and they just could play fast. That was the whole thing: knowing what we’re calling, so we could play faster.”
The Patriots offense still had its fair share of issues, and eventually had to settle for five field goals on top of that Jakobi Meyers touchdown catch. Jones nonetheless feels encouraged by what he saw versus New York’s defense and the week leading up to the game.
“I feel like we made strides there,” he said. “But we have to continue to do that. It starts in practice. We had a good week of practice and we have to carry it over even more into the game, but it was definitely good enough to get the W.”