FOXBORO (CBS) – The New England Patriots held an early-morning practice on Monday, getting a few more hits on one another before heading off for Philadelphia to — finally — turn that aggression on an actual opponent.
The Patriots will head to the city of brotherly love Monday afternoon and practice with the Eagles twice before hitting the field Friday night for their 2013 preseason debut. Bill Belichick and company are looking forward to the joint practices ahead of Friday night, a solid warm-up even for just an exhibition game.
The Patriots held joint practices with both the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season (the Pats will welcome the Bucs to Gillette next week ahead of next Friday’s preseason tilt as well), and Belichick talked about the benefits that come from those joint sessions on Monday.
“We’re looking forward to seeing some different faces, different jerseys,” he said prior to the team hitting the field. “This will be a big week for all of us to see how we can pull things together from a team standpoint, as well as each one of us individually working on our development at this point in the season.”
“Once the ball is snapped, it’s all going to happen as it happens,” said Belichick. “Structurally, the things we want to try to get done – the drills, who is going to go where, just to try to get organized so we’re efficient with it – that’s taken some time and some communication to organize. But once we have the basic parameters of it, then we’re just playing football,” he said.
The team is focused more on what they are doing rather than their opponent, or the final score for that matter, so there won’t be much scouting done on the new-look Eagles with NFL rookie head coach Chip Kelly at the helm.
But that will be a good thing for Belichick and his team, giving them an opportunity to adjust mid-game.
“We have to react to what they do just like in game situations, and vice-versa. I think that’ll be good for the players, the coaches,” said Belichick. “We’ll have to make adjustments down there; they’re running a new coaching staff, new scheme, new system, they have some new players. We’re not really doing a whole lot of scouting and preparation for them. We’ll just see what we get out there and we’ll have to react to it and adjust to it, but I think that will be good for us as well.”
Belichick did not say how long his starters will play come Friday night, mainly quarterback Tom Brady, but that answer will come soon.
“We haven’t even had those discussions yet,” Belichick said. “We’ll have those discussions as we get closer to the game.”
Tune in to the Patriots-Eagles Preseason game Friday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV — the flagship stations of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. on 98.5 FM, and at 7 p.m. on WBZ-TV with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m..