FOXBORO -- Normally the Patriots will practice in ugly weather. Cold, rain, freezing rain . . . whatever. They'll practice in it.
Their diligence in inclement weather was one of the reasons for which the Patriots said they won after they made a dramatic comeback to beat the Broncos at home three weeks ago at a cold and windy Gillette Stadium.
"We’ve been pretty good in bad-weather conditions for as long as I got here," Brady said the next day. "I think the biggest reason is because coach Belichick walks in every day and says, ‘I don’t give a crap what the weather is, get your [expletive] on and get out there, we’re practicing outside.’ That’s what he does. And we go, ‘All right.’ It could be 40 mph winds, it could be downpours, it could be three inches of snow, we’re out there on our practice fields practicing. It’s pretty rare that we go in the bubble. I think to challenge our mental toughness is as important as anything.”
As it turns out, this is one of those rare weeks. The Patriots have been in the Dana-Farber Field House for two straight days of practice as they get ready to play down in Miami, where the forecast is for partly cloudy skies and about 84 degrees at kickoff.
"There’s always a rhyme and a reason why Coach [Bill] Belichick does things," Brady said on Wednesday. "If we’re going to play and it’s 10 degrees out, he wants us to be out there in the cold understanding the elements, the conditions, and what it’s going to feel like.
"I don’t think you can really duplicate South Beach and that heat, especially after we’ve been playing in pretty cold temperatures here for the last six weeks, but we’ll do the best we can do. We’ve faced it before in December, and I’m sure it’ll be warm down there. You don’t really compete against the weather, you compete against the Dolphins, because they’re dealing with the same stuff we are. So hopefully our execution is better than theirs. That’s what I’m hoping."
The Dolphins played in the snow last week in Pittsburgh so they'll likely be looking forward to playing in warmer conditions. And they aren't the only ones.
"You always take the opportunity to take advantage of better weather," Patriots punter Ryan Allen said. "But on any given day you never know what's going to blow through. Any place could have bad winds, bad rain or whatever so have to prepare for what you can. You gotta be able to react and do the best you can with any situation you're given."
Though it may be warmer than playing outside on the Gillette Stadium practice fields in Foxboro -- where it was windy and about 25 degrees at the time of Thursday's Patriots practice -- the bubble can't simulate weather. No gusts of wind. No moisture.
Allen explained that if the Patriots run into those things in Miami, he'll draw on experience to cope.
"When you get out there you gotta just react and be an athlete," Allen said. "You know the technique, you just gotta trust it. There's a lot of adrenaline that gets built up as well (in bad weather) and you're going to want to move fast, but it's all about staying compact and sticking to technique and what you know."
Tight end Matthew Mulligan is from Maine so whatever awaits in Miami isn't exactly his idea of ideal football conditions.
"I definitely prefer cold," he said. "But at the same time they're getting us ready up here, and we're doing what we can do to get ready to go down there. It's just one of those things. If you go to Denver, you have to deal with the air up there thinner. You go to Seattle, maybe it's raining. Everywhere you go and you're not at your home place, it's going to be uncomfortable."