PHILADELPHIA – Bill Belichick has said that one of the benefits of joint practices with the Eagles is the unexpected. Players and coaches have to react when they don’t know what’s coming, which is a dynamic that is harder to achieve when practicing against your own team.
Along those lines, the Patriots had to roll with the punches when Wednesday’s practice was moved from 12:30 p.m. to 10:15 a.m.
“We talked about that this morning,” Belichick said, detailing some of his remarks to players. “We told them what the situation was – it was either practice now or risk practicing in lightning, and we’re not going to do that. So ‘let’s make the change and get out there and get it done.’ Nobody said anything. They want to go to work. They want to compete. This is what they’ve trained all offseason before – to play football. Now is our chance to do it and we’re all excited for the opportunity.”
Belichick gave a positive review from Tuesday’s practice.
“I thought yesterday was a real good day for us, we got a lot out of it,” he said. “We got pretty much everything we expected, a lot of situational work, a lot of good one-on-one work. Our team saw some things that we haven’t seen before that we had to adjust to, which is good. We had a good opportunity to go through the film and make some corrections and see how we’re able to do today. We have some new situations and we’ll certainly repeat some of the things that came up yesterday and we’ll see how we do them the second time around. It was a good day yesterday. Real good.”
Belichick said that he didn’t have anything to add regarding rookie receiver Aaron Dobson being held out of the second half of Tuesday’s practice after he was engaged by cornerback Cary Williams, who seemed to instigate a scrap. Belichick deferred to Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who addressed the topic Tuesday, saying the coaches had a prior agreement that if anyone gets in a scrap they would be removed from practice.
A few other soundbites from Belichick:
Anything that stood out to him Tuesday: “I thought the overall practice was good. I thought our players worked hard. We worked together. We had good competitive practices. We both got a lot out of it. We’re a better team today than we were yesterday.”
On practicing without music, which has been an Eagles staple under Kelly: “We’ve done plenty of that and I know they have to. We probably felt like it would be better for practice to be able to communicate everything and make sure everybody understood the situations that we’re going through and all that. We’ve done it. They’ve done it. I don’t think it’s a big deal one way or the other.”
Thoughts on Devin McCourty. “Devin’s had a good spring. He’s one of our best prepared players, both physically and mentally. He has a very good understanding of the overall defense and has gotten more experience at the safety position, and has also worked some at corner. He’s a great team player, been a captain since his second year in the league. Wherever we need him, I know he’s prepared to play and do the best he can for the team. That’s one of the things we all love about Devin. He’s a great team player. He’s a good player, does a lot of different things – kicking game, defense, safety, corner, nickel, whatever it happens to be. He’s very dependable, he’s very consistent, and he works hard and puts the team first. There’s really not much to not like about him. It’s all good.”