This week’s hazy, hot and humid weather in Massachusetts is tailor-made for the Patriots.
A summer of mild was not the way to get ready for the 1 p.m. season opener in South Florida.
Bill Belichick is loathe to acknowledge the weather as either an advantage or disadvantage. But he did allow that he’d rather be headed to Miami now than late in the season.
“This week’s a good week for the guys to at least get used to it," he said on Tuesday's conference call with reporters. "Personally, I would rather play in a warm climate at the beginning of the year than at the end of the year because at least we’ve been practicing in it. And likewise, when the teams come from the South in December to play up here, it’s probably a lot harder than coming here to play in October.”
Stamina and hydration will be vital on Sunday. Especially as the team comes off a preseason in which reps are closely managed and nobody’s played a full game.
Perhaps to counter that, the Patriots have done practice-ending gassers and/or sprinted up the incline adjacent to their practice facility an awful lot this summer. You can find other camps they’ve done that, but this year, the incline seemed more regularly used.
Part of the reason Belichick doesn’t like to discuss the weather is that it becomes something players will mentally monitor and -- in some cases -- get themselves distracted.
Best just to tell the team they are ready for it and go.
“The game’s been on the schedule for quite a while,” Belichick pointed out. “It’s no secret that we’re opening in Miami in September. Everybody’s known that for months. We’ve had some hot days here at the beginning of the season. You can have a hot day anywhere. It really comes back to the conditioning of your team. Whether it’s hot or not, it’s the same for both teams. And the player’s conditioning level and his ability to perform at a high level is gonna be reflected later in the game depending on his physical conditioning. I think you always want your team to be in good physical condition regardless of where the game is. Certainly early in the season or any dome game any time, those are situations that are gonna be challenging for both teams.
“We’re playing the Dolphins,” Belichick concluded. “I don’t think this game is gonna be decided by the heat, just like the ones at the end of the year aren’t decided by the cold. We’re playing a good football team and if we play well, we’ll be competitive and have a chance. And if we don’t play well, it won’t make a difference what the conditions are, we’ll be in a lot of trouble.”
Sunday’s forecast calls for 89 degrees, a threat of thunderstorms and an 11 MPH wind from the East.