The Patriots obviously see value in joint practices with other teams during training camp, since they’ve scheduled a pair of them this year.
But as Tom Curran of CSNNE.com points out, there’s a very simple reason for that — Bill Belichick loves them.
The Patriots boss wasn’t able to get one in last year because of the lockout-forced condensed camp schedule, but he’s worked with the Giants, Falcons and Saints in the past.
After spending a day with the Saints in 2010, Belichick said: “I thought yesterday’s practice was probably one of the most productive practices I think I’ve been a part of in my career.”
The work is particularly helpful for them this year because the Patriots have a stable core of offensive players, with Tom Brady entrenched, an offensive line of returning players and much familiarity with Josh McDaniels’ system. The defense is incorporating some new pass-rushers, but is used to what they’re teaching for the most part.
Giving them a different look in scrimmage periods and even one-on-one drills offers a fresh approach.
“We saw a lot of things from the Saints that we haven’t seen working against ourselves,” he said in 2010. “They do a lot of things well, so there were a lot of things that we were able to evaluate and also adjust to. We can walk through them, we can talk through them, but it’s different when a good team does them and hurts you with them and you have to make those changes
“[There’s] no better preparation for a game than working against the team you’re going to play. We’ve seen a lot in the two practices yesterday. We’ll see a lot more today. It’s been a great learning experience for our football team, not just the players but our staff as well.”
Belichick also has a close relationship with Bucs coach Greg Schiano, so he knows what he’s likely to see when he gets to Tampa, and if his guys respond, he’ll likely enjoy what he sees when he gets there.