Coaches may try to say it’s not, but the truth is that what players consider “camp” (two-a-days, staying in a hotel/dorm, being on top of one another day after day) is now giving way to the regular-season dress rehearsal week. Pretty much everyone uses these next few days, and the second-to-last game of the preseason which follows it, to get their regulars game ready for Week 1.
And in Foxborough, this week may be even more important than it has been in the past.
Why? Two reasons. First, this team is chock full of first- and second-year players who will need to be ready for the mental and physical aspects of a normal game week. Second, the team hasn’t done that in any real form or fashion the last two weeks, while practicing with the Saints and Falcons.
So this will likely be the first and only time, prior to the regular season, that some of those young players prepare for an opponent without physically seeing them in practice and the first time they’ll see real scouting reports and game plans. That’s not to say none of that was in play against New Orleans or Atlanta, just that it’s not the same after they’ve been practicing against that team prior to the game.
We’ll keep you posted on this end. The Patriots have a 12:40 p.m. practice today following Bill Belichick’s 12:15 p.m. press conference, and an 11:45 a.m. practice tomorrow following an 11:15 a.m. Belichick presser. None of that is open to the public, but we’ll go out there and fill you in afterward.