Patriots prepared for joint practices with Eagles
|08.12.14 at 11:19 am ET|
The Patriots and the Eagles will come together for a series of joint practices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and the two teams will clash in Friday’s preseason contest at Gillette Stadium.
Joint practices have become the norm for Bill Belichick and the Patriots — they spent last week with the Redskins prior to their game in D.C. on Thursday night, and New England and Philadelphia met before their preseason contest last year. Based on their experiences with the joint practices in 2013, both Belichick and Eagles coach Chip Kelly expect the week together to be a productive one.
“I thought it was great,” Belichick said of last year’s sessions with Philly. “Chip and I talked about [how] we did a lot of situation work, and Chip and I talked about the things we felt like our teams needed, and I think we were able to accomplish those in the practice sessions. A lot of young guys played in the game. I’m sure it’ll be that way again this week. But practice sessions, we’ve got a lot of experienced players playing against each other in situational play, and I think that will serve us well and did serve us well last year.”
“We’ll go Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday with the Patriots,” Kelly said earlier this week. “Usually, we’re on our own on the day before the game, but we did it last year and did a lot of situational work with them. There will be a lot of physical play on Tuesday and Wednesday. There are a lot of corrections that can be made from [our first] game against the Bears. That’s what we’re trying to get accomplished in the next few days.”
Two important things to keep an eye on: one, the two teams certainly aren’t afraid to square off with each other — in last year’s joint practices, cornerback Cary Williams was tossed from practice following a fight, and some Eagles have said they don’t plan on being as accommodating this year as they were last year. And against the backdrop of Williams’ recent comments about the Patriots, there could certainly be some extracurricular activities involving the two teams. And two, the referees will be present for the sessions — and encouraged to throw flags — as both teams continue to get up to speed on the new points of emphasis when it comes to defensive holding and illegal contact.