BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots have made it to Friday of Week 7 without any COVID-19 hiccups. Dare we say it was a relatively normal week of prep for the Pats?

So far so good as we inch closer to Sunday’s matchup with the 3-3 San Francisco 49ers at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots had just one practice over the last two weeks after several positive COVID-19 tests threw their schedule through a loop, but things were much more normal this week.

The team met virtually on Wednesday, but was able to practice Thursday and Friday. It was the first time the team had back-to-back practice sessions in three weeks.

Bill Belichick and Patriots players stressed how important is it to get that time on the practice field after a tough 18-12 loss to the Broncos last Sunday. On Friday, Belichick sounded almost relieved that the team was able to get to this point in Week 7.

“It was great to be able to get back on the field and have a pretty normal week,” Belichick said during his Friday morning video conference with reporters. “We had virtual meetings on Wednesday, but yesterday and today fit our normal Thursday and Friday schedule. We anticipate doing that through the weekend. We all appreciate that.

“We maybe took it for granted in the past because it was always that way. Now, having experienced the other side of it — players getting dressed in a bubble, driving home to shower and things like that. It’s a lot of little conveniences that we’ve had and didn’t have for a few days. Now we have them back and I know there’s an appreciation,” Belichick noted. “I know I have it and a lot of our players feel it as well, just to be able to do things on a normal basis. It’s a positive for the team and I think their attitude and energy has reflected that.”

Julian Edelman said he was actually happy to hit the field for practice this week.

“I never thought it would come to this, but I was pretty excited to go out and practice and have a normal week. It’s a huge part of how you build confidence, especially with a young unit and a young team. When you go out and can see yourself do it on film and the guy next to you doing the right thing, you get experience doing it. It helps everyone go to bed and sleep comfortable. It makes you your most confident,” explained Edelman.

Edelman said he didn’t realize how important practice truly was until it was taken away from them in recent weeks.

“I guess the old saying, ‘You always want what you can’t have’ is true,” he said.

If any one player needed a full week of practice, it was Cam Newton. After missing nearly two week following his positive test at the beginning of the month, the quarterback looked rusty and uncomfortable throughout last Sunday’s loss. On Thursday, he said it was almost strange to have a normal practice after such a long stretch without one.

“It’s almost surreal, but the fact we’re able to practice, I think everybody is getting back into their normal routine. I think that’s big for us,” said Newton. “I know me, personally, being at my position, it’s one thing to go over your reads, it’s another thing to be able to go over your reads and get a good look out at it.

“We hope it pays dividends come Sunday and we’re expecting big things from not only the offense but just a good complementary game of football for us,” he added.

Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-49ers clash on WBZ-TV! Pregame coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with Patriots GameDay, kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m., and after the game switch over to TV38 for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!

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