The Patriots are hoping to begin a second round of preparation for the Denver Broncos with a Wednesday afternoon practice.
After a wild nine-day stretch during which two games had to be rescheduled due to positive COVID-19 tests, the Patriots were given Monday and Tuesday off by coach Bill Belichick.
The team is now scheduled to be back at Gillette Stadium Wednesday to begin what the Patriots hope will be a normal week leading up to Sunday’s 1 p.m. home game against the Broncos. Any further positive tests would change those plans.
The teams were supposed to play this past Sunday at 4:25 p.m., but due to the lack of practice time for the Patriots after Stephon Gilmore’s positive test, the game was moved to Monday at 5 p.m.
When defensive lineman Byron Cowart tested positive over the weekend, the NFL switched the game to next Sunday.
According to ESPN, all Patriots’ COVID-19 tests that were administered on Sunday came back negative on Monday.
Belichick is schedule to have a video conference with the media Tuesday morning and the players will be answering questions from the media after practice and meetings on Wednesday.
The upheaval of the Patriots’ schedule began on Oct. 3 when quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for the virus. The Oct. 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs was pushed back to the next night with the Patriots traveling to Kansas City on the morning of the game.
Newton, who reportedly has had no symptoms, will likely be able to play against the Broncos.
In an interview with Bridget Condon of ABC-11 in North Carolina, Newton’s father, Cecil, said that his son is “roaring to go play.”
“I was asking (him) about his immune system and how he felt and whether the symptoms were like fever, chills, headaches, coughs, that kind of stuff,” said Cecil Newton. “He had none of the symptoms, so I think he’ll be able to combat his way through it.”
This was supposed to be the Patriots’ bye week, but because of the postponement of the Broncos’ game, last week served as the team’s off week.
The Patriots are now scheduled to play 12 straight weeks the remainder of the season starting with home games against the Broncos and then the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 25 and ending with home games on Dec. 28 and Jan. 3 with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.
In between, the Patriots have six of eight games on the road. From Nov. 1-Dec. 20, they will be at Gillette Stadium only twice to play the Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals.
More changes might be coming, given the uncertainty of COVID-19 and how it is affecting teams in the NFL.
“You take it day by day,” said defensive lineman Lawrence Guy. “You can only control what’s happening in front of you right now. You can’t control the past. You can’t control what’s going to happen in two days. You’ve got to take what it is and be ready and sharp enough to go into the next day.”
The Patriots are averaging 179.8 rushing yards in four games, ranking them second in the NFL behind the Cleveland Browns (188.4). They were 18th a year ago, getting 106.4 yards per game.
Sony Michel, who is on the injured list with a quad injury, leads the way with 173 yards with Newton (149), Rex Burkhead (128) and Damien Harris (100 in one game) next on the list.
“It really is a team effort,” said offensive lineman Joe Thuney. “We’ve got running backs, wide receivers running the ball. Obviously it starts with the offensive line and trying to get good combinations and good technique in the running game.
“Everyone’s been doing their job blocking downfield, reading the right thing. It takes all 11 guys on offense and having everybody working together.”
Lock to play?: If the Patriots and Broncos had played this past weekend, Denver likely would have been without quarterback Drew Lock, but the postponement could get him in the lineup against New England.
Lock hurt his shoulder in the second game of the season and has been replaced by Brett Rypien. Lock could now resume practicing with the first team on Wednesday.
“We’ll see how he progresses the next 72 hours, how much better he gets, and go from there,” coach Vic Fangio told reporters.