FOXBORO -- The Patriots will kick off the first of two joint practice sessions with the Eagles on Tuesday at 2 p.m. We're expecting two days filled with high-intensity competition as teams start to make more definitive evaluations of their players and how those players are progressing. Many will be fighting for roster spots as the compete against players wearing different-colored jerseys.
"Obviously [this] week will be a good opportunity for our team to play against the Eagles and the offense and defense and schemes that they run and players they have," Bill Belichick said on Monday. "It’ll be a good opportunity."
Belichick said that the schedule for the joint practices this year would essentially mimic what they did last summer when they met in Philadelphia* -- an indication that both Belichick and Eagles coach Chip Kelly were happy with the way last year's work turned out. (*For a review of how last year's practices went, check out Tom E. Curran's three Postcards from Camp.)
"I thought it was great," Belichick said. "I thought we had a good – Chip and I talked about [how] we did a lot of situation work, and Chip and I talked about the things we felt like our teams needed, and I think we were able to accomplish those in the practice sessions. A lot of young guys played in the game. I’m sure it’ll be that way again this week. But practice sessions, we’ve got a lot of experienced players playing against each other in situational play, and I think that will serve us well and did serve us well last year."
Prior to Tuesday's practice, both Philadelphia offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Belichick will be made available to the media.
At 1:00 p.m. we'll have an opportunity to watch a presentation by NFL officials on some of the penalties that will be newly emphasized this season, which should serve as a good chance to learn more about the interpretation of defensive holding and illegal contact in the secondary.
Officials will be present for the practice sessions so we'll keep a close eye on how often Patriots corner Brandon Browner and the rest of the Patriots defensive back corps are called for getting too handsy.