Thoughts from the Patriots Bye-Week

Mike DussaultSenior Analyst ISeptember 25, 2008

Just because the Pats aren't playing this weekend doesn't mean they're taking this week off, so neither are we. 

It's already been a long week and if you're like me, you've avoided ESPN, NESN and pretty much every other news outlet that might be tempted to show any one of Ronnie Brown's gleeful dashes to the end zone. 

So far so good, as my gaze slowly shifts focus toward a shot at redemption by beating down a somewhat upstart 49ers team in two weeks.

The slight glimmer of excitement for the game in San Diego, which yours truly will be attending, has crept into the back of my mind, but for now I must ignore it.

The bye week is a time to look at how you've performed, correct the mistakes and prepare for the long grind that will hopefully end, at the very earliest, in the first round of the playoffs.

With that said, here are what the Pats need to do on the off week...

1. Cassel, Get Better - Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick need to take a step back this week and really figure out what the hell they have in Matt Cassel. They need to find what his strengths are and tweak the offense around him. It can't be all about the short passing game. Did anyone else notice the painful amount of third downs against the Dolphins? That's what happens when every pass is 5-yards or less. Let's just say we need to see some rhythm and consistency next week. Just something that shows maybe just a hint of cohesion and improvement.

2. Defense, Figure Your Crap Out - Sunday's stinker for the defense was reminiscent of how they looked in the preseason. Stout efforts against the Chiefs and Jets made people forget how horrid they looked when they went 0-4 in the games that don't count. 

Who is this defense? The one that had two impressive goalline stands in the first two games? Or the one that can't figure out how to stop the now-infamous Wildcat package. They need to make a statement and they can do so on the West Coast.

3. RBs, Get Your Health On - After the Jets game I thought we had a good thing going on the ground. Every back had big carries and each one brought something different to the party. Last week Sammie Morris looked like Laurence Maroney on a bad day, which with Maroney is pretty much every game that he isn't hurt or the AFC Championship (we can't forget that one). Lamont Jordan also is a bit banged up as he had limited carries due to a foot injury that held him out of practice all week. 

So now both Jordan and Maroney have a full week to get back to 100% health. And let's pray they do because Pats aren't going anywhere without a top notch rushing attack.

4. Matt Cassel, Needs to Get Better - Did I already mention this one? Well that's okay because he really needs to. He shouldn't be allowed to leave Gillette, unless it was to fly to see Brady and Giselle in NYC for playbook work.

5. Win - Always my fifth key, I don't know what it really means this week since there isn't a game. Let's just end on the note that we hope all Patriots players are winners in their private lives and not giant douchebags like Plaxico Burress