FOXBOROUGH – In the few days before the preseason opener Thursday against the New Orleans Saints, Belichick said he'll work on putting situational things together like down and distance, field position and kicking game.
“Not many of them may come up, who knows?” Belichick said. “But we need to start getting ready for them, and that will be part of the week's process, trying to evaluate how we're doing now that we've had an opportunity to pretty much get everything installed and pretty much get multiple reps on it. So hopefully we go out there and execute it to a decent level."
The team got a much needed off day Saturday letting tempers cool off after two fights broke out in Friday's practice. Belichick, who made the entire team run laps for the brawls, said he hoped that was the last of the dustups.
“That's all a couple days old now, so we're moving on,” Belichick said. “I'm sure we're ready as a team to start working with somebody else. We've seen plenty of each other, and that's been good, but that's not going to be the way it's going to be during the season.”
The Patriots will have joint practices with the Saints Tuesday and Wednesday, and Belichick acknowledged that New Orleans is a clear measuring stick, especially for his defense
“They're obviously an outstanding football team all the way around,” Belichick said. “So I think their proficiency is pretty well-documented. It will definitely be a challenge.”
There were a handful of roster moves, including Robert Gallery retiring, and Tony Fiammetta being placed on the exempt/left squad for what Belichick succinctly described as “personal reasons.” The Patriots signed defensive back Derrick Martin (which almost seemed to slip Belichick's mind as he said, “Oh, right. Yeah.”) and fullback Kareem Huggins Saturday, then turned around and released Huggins this afternoon.
“Obviously, it just never really got off the ground there,” Belichick said. “Before we could get him on the field we didn't feel like we could put him on the field.”
Some other notables:
- With the tragic news of the death of Andy Reid's son Garrett circulating this morning, Belichick offered brief condolences to Reid and his family. “Very sad,” Belichick said. “Andy's a good friend of mine. My heart goes out to him and his family.” Belichick and Reid have a long-standing relationship, to the extent that last year they playfully swapped the 193d and 194th picks in the draft to continue a streak of 10 straight years with a deal between the two.
- In the days leading up to Robert Gallery's decision to retire, Belichick said they talked several times. Ultimately, Belichick said he had to respect Gallery's decision. “He's a good player, had a good career. Sorry it didn't work out this year. But I understand it and both of us will move on. He worked hard while he was here, did everything we asked him to do.”
- The latest season of HBO's “Hard Knocks” with the Miami Dolphins will premiere Tuesday, but Belichick likely won't be tuned in. “I'll probably miss it,” he said. “If anything great comes out of it, you guys will let me know.”