It's sort of like training camp for the Patriots this week and they're loving it. For the 31 other NFL teams, it's the first week of December, that part of the schedule where grinding towards the finish line is about the only option.
But coach Bill Belichick, something of an evil genius to his detractors, decided to bring his team to California for the week. Following Sunday's loss to Green Bay, the Patriots headed west -- instead of returning to Foxboro -- ahead of this Sunday's matchup with the Chargers. And so far, so good. At least to hear the players tell it.
"It's definitely a little different," wideout Julian Edelman said, via ESPN.com. "It's kind of cool to be on such a nice campus. It kind of feels like Foxborough in the spring with the rain; I'm sure Coach probably had something to do with that."
And cornerback Darrelle Revis added: "I think it's great, man, really thought out by our organization and Bill and our coaching staff after such a big game against Green Bay," he said. "Guys are hanging out, sitting by the pool, relaxing, being around each other.
"This is a crucial time in our season too, for us to continue to be around each other and have each other's back as a team. We have to really be on the same page as a team and coaching staff to finish out the season."
And perhaps most importantly, center Ryan Wendell reminds us: "It's nice to have In-N-Out [Burger] and Mexican food close by. But it's about getting ready for San Diego."
And that's important to remember (Not In-N-Out -- which is a huge perk), the Patriots are in San Diego to win a football game at a critical time in the season.
"We have to remind ourselves that we're not on vacation," said special teamer Matthew Slater. "Guys get away from home base, so to speak, and you can get a little lax and lose a little bit of your focus. I'm not saying it has to be business 24 hours around the clock, but at the same time, we're not out here for fun [and] leisure. We're out here to take care of our business and I think we have to remember that every day."