While calendars in the NFL reset after game days, the work week typically syncs with most others outside the sport. Each begins anew every Monday.
But when the next game takes place on Thursday, it’s easy to become discombobulated. Say the previous one was played on a Sunday. In roughly three hours, from kickoff to conclusion, you lost three days. Sunday afternoon morphed into Wednesday night.
The next morning, Monday for everyone else becomes your Thursday. Tuesday is like Friday and Wednesday serves as Saturday. The next day, Thursday, is game day.
When it’s followed by a second straight Thursday contest and the game after that falls on Monday night, trying to keep the days straight can leave your head dizzyingly out-spinning the Earth on its axis.
Take the past few weeks for the Patriots. Thanksgiving night in Minneapolis. Home hosting Buffalo a week later. Off to Arizona for a third straight weeknight game with Joe, Troy and the Manningcast on Monday.
No wonder Patriots linebackers coach Steve Belichick feels the way he does.
“It’s definitely a unique week,” Belichick says of the longer-than-usual interlude between a Dec. 1 loss to the Bills and Dec. 12 date with the Cardinals, before thinking about the odd Thursday-to-Thursday schedule of the week before. “ I didn’t know what day it was in my world, and then in the real world.”
As if remembering what day it is isn’t hard enough, there’s the maddening matter of telling time. In the Phoenix area, the Pats will be on Mountain Standard Time. From there they go to Las Vegas, site of their Week 15 affair with the Raiders. It’s in the Pacific time zone, and after originally being scheduled for 5:20 locally, it’s now set for 1:05 PT.
At least it’s on a Sunday.
Anyway, far less concerning for Belichick and New England’s defensive staff than which day is which is who’s who among the Cardinals.
Beaten by a Chargers’ two-point conversion, 25-24, with only 15 seconds left on Nov. 27, Arizona is 4-8 and coming off a bye. More to the point above, the Cardinals have used a league-high 77 different players.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has started a dozen different offensive lineups. His offensive line has featured eight different combinations to date.
Following are Belichick’s impression of what he’s seeing on film, as he tracks Cardinal comings and goings; special teams coordinator Cam Achord’s assessment of one of the Pats’ few in-season signees; and team Hall of Famer Troy Brown’s thoughts about a highly-drafted receiver trying to break out of the shadows of older teammates and a rookie classmate.