Fact: Bill Belichick loves joint practices

Fact: Bill Belichick loves joint practices
July 25, 2014, 4:45 pm
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Death, taxes, and Patriots joint practices.

You can pretty much guarantee that if there's a joint session to be had during training camp, the Patriots are having it. In fact, make it two - they're not driving.

In 2012, they hosted the New Orleans Saints and then travelled to Tampa Bay for another with the Bucs. Last year, the Pats traveled to Philadelphia for joint sessions and then hosted the Bucs in another.

And this year, yes, two more joint sessions are scheduled. They'll travel to Richmond, Va., for joint practices with the Redskins from Aug. 4-6 before the teams play on Aug. 7, and then the Pats will host the Eagles from Aug. 12-13 before they play at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 15.

For Bill Belichick, it's just better that way. He gets more out of practice seeing his players go up against unfamiliar ones. He sees different things out of them. He sees more. The staff even gets to scout opposing teams' players - don't forget, plenty of them will be cut before the regular season. But regardless, it's a great way to analyze what he's working with.

"Well I think it just gives you a good look at some of your players, especially the ones that you don't know as much about, the younger players," Belichick said Thursday on ESPN. "It just gives you a good look at different matchups and difference situations. We see our team, kind of the same two or three guys going against the other same two or three guys. When you get that into another team that has 8, 9, 10 receivers or whatever 12 offensive lineman, you see multiple matchups. A guy could look good in this kind of matchup and not so good in another matchup, but as you get to multiple matchups you start to see how that works out."

Camp can get redundant, especially for the veterans. We're talking about players who have gone through the motions season after season. You can only go so hard against your own teammates. After a couple weeks, a little spark can't hurt. That's what bringing in an opposing team does.

"And also the competition level goes up, it just does," Belichick said. "We practice against each other, but we're on the same team, we want to take care of each other, we want to work with each other. But at some point it just becomes true competition and I think that level ramps up a little bit when you go against another team. So there are positives to that. The other thing about practicing against another team is when you put your team out there you only have 11 guys you're worried about getting hurt instead of 22. So we walk back to the huddle I like to see all 11 from both teams walk back, it's nice to have 11 guys out there that you're worried about instead of 22."