And that’s interesting because this “dress rehearsal week” is a) the first time this year’s Patriots will play another team in a game setting without having seen them in practice first and b) because the game-plan aspect of thing, on a stripped-down level, is introduced to the players this week. Tossing Bradford, a player with minimal playing experience, into the mix, adds another element.
But on a grander scale, it is important for the coaches this week to see how the younger players can handle some of the information thrown at them and — specific to the rookies and this year (because of the joint practices) — go into a game against an opponent they haven’t seen yet.
“That’s definitely part of the evaluation,” Bill Belichick said. “What can they take from classroom or in the past two weeks, what can they take from practice and then apply to game situations. I think we have seen a lot of good examples of that: things that we’ve worked on in practice that then either the same or similar thing happened in the game and how we handled that and that certainly gives you an indication of how, not only a player, but also your whole team can adapt to those changes.
“It’s the same thing as far as making halftime adjustments or in-game adjustments. That’s part of the evaluation of the preseason games. ‘OK, here’s what we’re doing.’ All right, we get into the game and we change it. ‘Now here’s what we’re doing because that’s what they’re doing.’ Can they process that? Can they adapt to those changes? That’s part of the preseason evaluations of, again, each player, but also of your team.”
… And we’re off to get more from Belichick at his 11:15 a.m. press conference.