But why now? Why after a decade of not doing it, have the Patriots scheduled not one, but two of these sets of practices?
Well, here’s one thing to consider: The looming possibility of the 18-game schedule. I touched on this at the bottom of my Sunday Notes last week, after the news of the Patriots-Falcons practices came on, and I’ll hit on it here again.
If the league does expand the regular-season slate, the plan would be to cut back to two preseason games, and coaches would look for a way to compensate for the loss of competition before things start to count. One way to do it would be by adding more of these “joint practices” into the training camp routine.
Now, the league won’t go to 18 games before 2012. But this could be a way of gearing up for that, so teams will be more ready for the possibility that these practices could eventually be more of a necessity.