BOSTON (CBS) — Texans defensive end J.J. Watt put it best after Tuesday’s joint practice with the New England Patriots.
“The old saying goes, ‘Iron sharpens iron,'” Watt told reporters after his defense did their best to frustrate Tom Brady and company at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.
The Patriots and Texans hit the practice field together for their first of two joint practices, a day that featured some ups and downs for both squads. The Patriots offensive line had their hands full with Watt and teammate Whitney Mercilus, who got a good amount of pressure on Brady during the session.
That led to a pretty unhappy Patriots quarterback at times, prompting Brady to share some words with former teammate and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. It was the kind of friendly ribbing Brady and Vrabel spouted at each other during their seven years together in New England, and just another example of Brady’s fire on the field.
“That’s just Tom being Tom,” said receiver Julian Edelman, who has a pretty solid impression of an angry Tom Brady. “When you have a leader that wants to go out and practice at the highest level, when there is something you should do that doesn’t go right, there is going to be some fire under that. That’s what you need. That’s just Tommy being Tommy.”
“All it does is sharpen your game; not having the same people in front of you and having that mix and feel for competition that we’ll be seeing year round,” said newcomer Brandin Cooks. “It’s great.”
From hitting someone other than your teammates to the team bonding, the benefits of the joint sessions are countless. This is the second straight week the Patriots have joined forces with another team, after sharing the field for three days with the Jacksonville Jaguars last week in Foxboro. This time around, the Patriots are soaking in the chance to practice away from their comfortable home confines.
“It’s almost like when you’re in school and you go out on a field trip; you may be learning things but it’s ten-times better than being in class,” said Edelman. “That’s the same thing with joint practices. You get to go out and hit someone new, go out and use your techniques against someone new and see how they stack up.
“Against a team like this, how well coached they are and the talented players they have, that’s great for our team,” added Edelman.
The Patriots and Texans will hit the practice field once again on Wednesday. They’ll hold a joint walkthrough on Thursday before heading back to Houston for Saturday night’s preseason tilt.