As the New England Patriots take part in Day 2 of joint practices with the Washington Redskins, head coach Bill Belichick says the biggest benefit of this type of environment is working on “the situations.”
With Monday's practice focusing on basic situations of first, second and third down, the remaining joint practices are about getting more situational for Belichick.
“Today we're going to get into red area and third down and two-minute and tomorrow we're going to get into some more situational play and I think that's where a lot of the value comes on this,” Belichick said before Tuesday's joint practice.
“Let's face it -- there's no team in the league that's going to have their starting offense and starting defense on the field on the final drive of the game in preseason like it's going to be in the regular season. So in order to get work like that, this is a good opportunity to get it against somebody else. Not only the situations, but just playing against another team in that situation, trying to stop them or trying to score.”
Belichick also stresses that situational practices help team develop communication skills that players simply cannot acquire from preseason games and typical practices.
Joint practices with Washington will gradually kick up the situational intensity leading up to Thursday night's preseason opener.
A few other insights and sound bites from Belichick:
Conditioning for football only happens by playing football. When asked about the takeaways from the Patriots' conditioning level, Belichick said it's a daily grind. “I think we're making progress and I don't think we're where we need to be for the opener yet. Again, you can't get in condition to play football without playing football,” Belichick said. “You can run around a track and do sit-ups and all of that until the cows come home, but you've got to get in condition to play football by playing football.”
Putting the Ryan Mallett hype into perspective. After NFL analyst Mike Mayock said Ryan Mallett is a legitimate NFL starting quarterback, the Mallett hype took off. Belichick offered his perspective on Mallett's development as a quarterback this offseason. “Like everybody out there, every player, some plays are better than others. Ryan has good poise in the huddle, good presence on the field, handles the team well and absolutely knows the offense from A to Z and can make the adjustments and whatever changes, communications, checks, we need to make.”
Gronkowski still not practicing. Belichick said he doesn't have an update on tight end Rob Gronkowski's status. Gronkowski hadn't missed a full practice of camp until sitting out Monday's practice. Belichick informed reporters that Gronkowski also would not practice Tuesday. He has participated in individual drills at practices in Foxborough, though sat out team drills which is probably a factor in Gronkowski not participating in joint practices.