(UPDATE 12:10 a.m.: In response to commenter “Renaldi” … Yes, these are open to the public.)
So how do these things run? I talked to Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael about that last week, as part of the work for my Sunday Notes, since New Orleans has been through it the last few years, most notably alternating home-and-home with Houston.
Since my hard drive crashed over the weekend (Ouch!), I don’t have word for word what Carmichael said, but I can give you the gist of it.
As part of the arrangement between the teams, Saints coach Sean Payton and Texans coach Gary Kubiak would talk a couple weeks before the practice on the phone to start scripting it, and keep an open dialogue from there on tweaking it in the time leading up to the sessions. The idea was to keep the proceedings as “business as usual” as possible.
But from a bigger-picture standpoint, it would routinely be the practice script of the “home team” that both sides would be working off of. So when the day was held in Houston, it was a Texans style of schedule; And when it was in Metairie, La., the script looked more like a normal training camp day that the Saints would have.
That likely means that when the Saints come North, they and the Patriots’ work will have more of a New England feel to it; And when the Patriots go South, they’ll probably be going more on what Mike Smith and Co. do in Atlanta.
Carmichael said that the big benefit is to break up the monotony in training camp.
As for the fighting that occurred last year in Houston during a Saints-Texans practice, Carmichael said that the sides try “to limit that as much as possible.” But with some 160 highly competitive athletes out there, it can be difficult. And it can also be a good team-builder, in seeing players getting each others’ backs.
Anyway, we already know the schedule for the Falcons-Patriots get-together on Aug. 17, and we’re still waiting for the layout on the day in Foxborough on the 10th.
But hopefully, this gives you a little bit of an idea on how it all works.
One other cool thing, which was mentioned in the Notes … Carmichael’s dad, Pete Sr., will be a volunteer coach for the Patriots-Saints practice. Pete Sr.’s coached at every level of the game (including at BC during the Flutie years) and is now working as an assistant at Tufts.