FOXBORO (CBS) – The New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints held their first of two joint practices at Gillette Stadium Tuesday afternoon.
A record crowd of nearly 17,000 fans went out to Gillette to watch the two teams take the field.
For the Patriots, this was their first opportunity of Training Camp to play against players with a different uniform. The Patriots were a bit sloppy out there on Tuesday, and head coach Bill Belichick said there is plenty of work for his squad.
“We had a really good practice,” he said. “A lot of things we need to improve on. We’ll take a look at things tonight, and we have some situations and other things to build on tomorrow. Instead of just playing one game against a team like this, we really get three good days of work against them.”
“It was great,” said tight end Rob Gronkowski. “The Saints coming here, new competition, new guys, new looks, and you get to pick up the speed more. It’s just intensity.”
“You go against the same guys two weeks straight, your teammates, so it’s always great to get a new look,” added Gronk. “It was very competitive out there today and I believe we got so much out of it. Myself, I felt like I got a lot out of it, too. Overall, I think it’s a great concept, practicing a little bit in the preseason against other players.”
The Patriots and Saints will have another joint practice Wednesday morning from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – which is free to the public.
Both teams took the field around 2pm, half an hour after the practice was originally scheduled to begin. It was pushed back so Patriots Belichick and members of the Saints coaching staff could travel to Philadelphia to attend the funeral services for Eagles head coach Andy Reid’s son, Garrett, who passed away on Sunday.
The two teams also held a moment of prayer for the Reid family following practice.
The two teams will play a preseason game Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.