TAMPA -- Even though a fleet of very important Patriots sat out Monday's preseason game with the Eagles, more than half the 90-man roster played.
But Bill Belichick seems eager to have his team tested by the late game-day after-breakdown-fly to Tampa-practice-practice-game-fly home schedule his team is facing.
"Look, it's training camp," said Belichick when asked if any allowances were being made for spent players. "Coaches are tired, players are tired but we're gonna have a short week during the season. We have a Sunday-Thursday game during the season. That's what training camp's for. It's to suck it up, it's to be mentally tough with whatever situations you have. You're tired, you're sore, you didn't get any sleep, you traveled. You have to block that out and focus on what you can control which is your performance and your effort. You go out there and work through it as a team and as individuals."
The turnaround Belichick is referring to during the season comes when the Patriots play the Colts on Sunday and then follow with the Jets on Thanksgiving. He sees this week as becoming a touchstone for the team when things inevitably get ugly later.
"That's the way it's gonna be during the season," Belichick pointed out. "There will be plenty of weeks during the season where somebody's gonna be tired, somebody's gonna be sore or some position's gonna be short on numbers or whatever it is. You build your toughness and resiliency through training camp and that serves you well during the season. You look back during the season and say, 'You know what, this isn't that bad, we went through a lot worse stretch than this in camp.' You have the confidence you can do it. I don't really worry about that. These guys came to camp in good condition, they've worked hard, they've had a good camp, they're ready for the challenge in front of them and I expect them to meet it."