Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- All but four teams in the National Football League have yet to get their annual weekend off during the regular season. Not only are the Buffalo Bills one of the four with the latest bye week possible in Week 12, but the coaches of the team were pondering the right approach with the late-November rest period.
"I've never experienced a bye this late," head coach Doug Marrone said on Monday.
The Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks make up the teams with their bye week coming the latest of any in the 2013 season. With all of the bumps, bruises and mental taxation over the past 11 weeks now behind them, the Bills are intending on taking an off-the-field approach.
"My mindset is hey, let's get them all rested. Let's get them back in here and let's go," Marrone said, revealing that they won't be practicing this week. "I think it's tough when you go this far, and I think the way things have been going -- up and down."
In lieu of on-the-field practices, the organization is focusing on getting their players ready for Week 13 against Atlanta from both a physical and mental standpoint. They'll do some running and lifting throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, but also intend on giving the players enough time to recharge their batteries for the stretch run of the season.
In fact, once Wednesday comes and goes, the Bills will be off from Thursday all the way through Sunday. If the team didn't have the latest bye week possible, the work regimen leading up to the weekend would have been switched up.
"If we had a bye earlier, I think we'd do things differently. I think if we had a bye in the middle, we'd do things differently," the head coach remarked. "Normally we do do some work during that time. Earlier you're gonna do more work, in the middle you're going to do a little bit of work. But at the end, of where we are right now, I think it's more important to get everybody rested and ready to make a strong finish."
A strong finish and some help along the way is what it will take for the Bills to find their way into the NFL playoffs in 2013. Avoiding what would have likely been a crushing blow to their playoff hopes, with a win against the Jets, the Bills are now just 1.5 games out of the final Wildcard spot with five games to go.
If the Jets were to lose to Baltimore and the same for the Miami Dolphins against Carolina, the Bills will be only one game back of the last playoff berth.
With nine teams inside of 1.5 games of the final playoff position in the AFC, there are a lot of variables for the stretch run. However, with their next three games against teams that have a combined record of 5-25, and their final two games against divisional opponents, there is some hope for the Bills' chances.
Marrone and the rest of his coaches know that, and that may also play into the hands-off approach leading up to the player's off weekend.
"I'm just taking that approach of, 'Hey, here it is right now. Let's just get ourselves healthy. Let's get ready to make a push and let's go.'"
The Bills will return on Monday to start their preparations for their Week 13 matchup against the Falcons. That game will be played at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on December 1.