BOSTON (CBS)  – The New England Patriots are getting a bit of a breather at the midway point of their season, thanks to perfectly placed bye week.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is enjoying the time off, and said the bye in the middle of the season offers the team a good chance to work on fundamentals and make improvements based on what they’ve seen through the first eight weeks.

“It’s nice when it kind of comes midway through the year so you really have a nice sample size to see what you’re doing well and what you’re not doing well,” Brady said on Thursday. “I know that coach has been hard at work here over the last couple days trying to identify some of those things and that’s a lot of what we’ll go over today and in practice. You just don’t have that much time during the regular season because you’re trying to prepare for your opponent. With no opponent you try to focus on what we need to do better. Certainly I think [there are] a lot of things I that we can do better.”

Read: Patriots Hit Field For Only Practice During Bye Week

While the Patriots are first in the AFC East, Brady knows there is plenty of room for improvement.

“There’s still a lot of football left. We’re 5-3 so that tells you we’ve been a little bit up and down. It hasn’t been terrible. It hasn’t been great and we have a lot of room for improvement, so we’ll see how that goes over the course of the next eight weeks,” added Brady. “I’m not going to make a bunch of predictions. We’ll leave that to you guys. We have to go out there and do it. We have to go out there and earn it. That’s part of why we play. The enjoyment of playing is to go out there and do something about it, not just talk about it.”

The Patriots’ three losses on the season have come by a total of four points, which gives the team confidence heading forward knowing there is a good chance they’ll be in every game.

“I think that you have confidence. Wes Welker has a lot of confidence whether we win or lose. Rob Gronkowski does. I certainly do,” said Brady. “We have a lot of confidence in each other and what we can do. So even if you do lose, you’re still confident that, we lost to the Ravens but look, you have confidence that if we play the Ravens and we play really well, the outcome could be different. We’ve done that in the past. We’ve lost 31-0 before and still had confidence in ourselves as a team.”

“It can’t be a week-to-week thing and I think what you do on the practice field, what you do in the meeting rooms gives you confidence to go out there and execute,” continued Brady. “You have a game like the other night where you go out there and execute better than we have and the outcome was better than it’s been. 5-3, we’re in first place in our division but like I said, we’ve been a little bit inconsistent. Hopefully we can improve upon that inconsistency and that really starts this week.”

Read: Brady Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week

After Thursday, the Patriots won’t hit the practice field again until next week. Brady isn’t sure what he’s going to do with his time off, but he will find time to get some rest. He added that he feels great after the first eight weeks of the season, and always makes sure to work out vigorously during the bye week.

“For a quarterback, it’s interesting: you kind of get out of shape as the season goes because you don’t run as much,” explained Brady. “At the receiver position, those guys run, it’s incredible how much they run on a daily basis. They get in better shape as the season goes on. It’s important for the quarterback position to keep up your conditioning so that you can endure.”

“These last eight weeks is when teams really start to show themselves and the bad ones really start to fade,” he said. “If you want to be a good team, you have to be on top of all those things, whether it be our conditioning, your nutrition, your rest, your decision making over the course of a long season and how that impacts the rest of your teammates. That’s really why some teams begin to separate themselves over a 16-week season.”


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