BOSTON (CBS) — Tuesday’s joint practice with the Philadelphia Eagles has special meaning for the New England Patriots.
Sure, the Pats are going to get work against a talented Eagles team, but the referees will also be in the house.
This is big. The Pats went out and put together a more physical secondary in the offseason. However, there are rule changes to cut down on the bump and run on receivers.
Before taking the field, referee John Parry spoke to the media and was very adamant that these preseason games are the testing ground. They’re placing an emphasis on defensive holding calls and players blocking illegally down field, and will be calling it a lot ahead of the regular season. The reason for this is to get the players used to these new changes; the official on hand was strong in saying that by making sure they make these calls in the preseason, the players will alter their style of play. The hope is that by Week 1, everyone should be in some sort of a groove.
Bill Belichick actually requested that the officials throw a lot of flags today, and to make sure they are very visible. That way when they go back and look at the film, they can adjust that play and ask questions if they don’t understand.
The refs will be here in camp for the next three days, and this is a great chance for the players to talk to the refs about the rules while they are on the field.
This should be a very productive day, combining the joint practices with the refs.
It will also be interesting to see if Rob Gronkowski sheds the red “no contact” jersey and gets into some contact drills.
Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid.
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