- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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The New England Patriots make their first trip to Houston to face the Texans since the 2009 regular-season finale, a game that was unforgettable because it was when then-Patriots receiver Wes Welker tore his ACL in a non-contact injury.
The natural-grass playing surface at Reliant Stadium was pieced together in certain areas that day, and was a concern to some members of the organization before the game.
This topic was brought up to Bill Belichick during his Tuesday conference call, as those who watched the Texans' Nov. 3 home game against the Colts couldn't have helped but notice the field looked much the same as it did in 2009.
"We looked at the films and we’ll do what we usually do when we play on the road -- talk to teams that have played there before in order to at least have the proper footwear options and that type of thing and then check out the conditions and the environment before we go out there," the Patriots' coach said.
Belichick was then asked if he noticed that the field looked different this year.
"Yeah, there’s a little bit of discoloration or different colors on the surface. But, you know, again, I think that’s normal. Any time you play on another field, especially one that you haven’t been on, prior to the game that’s one of the things you talk about is making sure that you go out there, walk the field, get familiar with the environment, the 40-second clock, the game clock, the lights or the wind conditions, whatever it happens to be.
"So when you go out for pregame warm-up, you’re prepared for all those things. Then you go out there in pregame warm-up and test it out. You test out your footing, you test out the lights or the sun or the wind conditions in various points in the stadium and that’s part of getting familiar with environment, the surroundings that you’re going to play in. We do that every week; we’ll do it this week. It will be like that in all of our away games."