By Levan Reid, WbZ-TV SportsBy Levan Reid

RICHMOND (CBS) —  The Pats and the Redskins have hit the practice on a steamy day here in Virginia for their second of three joint practices.

Head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media before the practice, and had plenty to say about teaming up with the Redskins and his football team in general. Here are some of the highlights:

– Belichick said their first day with the Redskins was a great success. He said Washington gave them the challenge they were looking for it’s made them better.

“The Redskins are a good team; they do a lot of things well and gave us a lot of challenges and certainly things we need to look at on film and correct and understand how to do better,” said coach. “I thought that both teams worked well with each other. It was great work but also good cooperation.”

Belichick also enjoyed seeing lots of Pats fans make the trip to see their team.

– A question came up about Belichick’s relationship with Tom Brady, and the coach quickly replied that Brady has always been a strong leader.

“Even as a rookie, even though he didn’t play and wasn’t active on the field, he had a very active role off the field with the scout team and the preparation. We had a lot of young players; we had 20-some rookies on that team. He was kind of in charge of those guys doing extra on their own and learning our system and so forth. He’s always had a real, I would say, strong leadership role on the team.

“I have a lot of respect for Tom. No other quarterback I’d rather have quarterbacking our team than Tom Brady,” he said. “I guess that’s the best way I could sum it up.”

– Ryan Mallett came up and coach said he thinks his backup has been solid. The third-year passer Got off to a good start during the spring, and Belichick is impressed with how he handles the team when he gets his chance.

“Ryan has good poise in the huddle, good presence on the field, handles the team well and absolutely knows the offense from A to Z and can make the adjustments and whatever changes, communications, checks, we need to make,” said Belichick. “He’s shown good ability to do that, he has a lot of physical talent. He’ll get an opportunity to – he really hasn’t had an opportunity to play in a regular season game in three years so he’ll get a lot of playing time this year in preseason and hopefully continue to improve.”

– Belichick said the biggest thing about these joint practices are the situations they simulate. Today they will get in  some goal-line and Red Zone work. This stuff doesn’t happen that much in the preseason with the number one’s on the field, so that is why these practices are good. The reps are high in certain situations for everyone on the depth chart.

– As far as conditioning, Belichick said his team is nowhere near where they need to be. He thinks the only way to get in condition to play football is to get on the field and play it.  Practice and running will not mimic the grind that goes along in the game.

10:23 a.m.: The Patriots and Redskins will hit the practice field together again on Tuesday for their second day of joint practices, and today should be even more physical than yesterday.

The Washington players admitted the Pats play a bit more up-beat than they do following Monday’s joint practice, so this will be their chance rise up to that challenge.

Tom Brady pretty much beat up the Redskins defense yesterday, so they’ll be looking to even the score when the two teams take the field at 1:35pm.  Even though it’s practice, there is still a chess match going on between the players. Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater told me that even though it’s controlled, the players still get amped up to hit the field with a different team.

The Patriots defense did pretty good against the pass on Monday, but stopping the run wasn’t their strong suit. The Redskins have one of the best running games in the league, so this will continue to be a a good test for the Pats.

The two teams will lose the pads for Wednesday’s session, which will be a walk through ahead of Thursday night’s preseason opener.

Over 20,000 were on hand to watch practice on Monday, and fans have already started to line up to take in another day. We’ll keep you posted throughout the afternoon.

Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid.


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