FOXBOROUGH – Coach Bill Belichick seemed to be in good spirits as he chatted with reporters on Monday morning before his Patriots returned to the field after having Sunday off from practice.
New England will practice in the morning, and the team is scheduled to fly to Philadelphia midday Monday; the Patriots will spend Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday practicing with the Eagles before the preseason opener for both on Friday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
Belichick is looking forward to the challenges the joint practices will pose for all members of the team.
“This will be a big week for all of us, to see how we can pull things together from a team standpoint as well as each one of us individually work on our development, and our improvement at this point in the season and we’ll see where we’re at on Friday night,” he said. “I think we’re all looking forward to going down there, seeing the Eagles. I have a lot of respect for [coach] Chip [Kelly] and his organization, the job that he does, and the Eagles have always been a solid franchise since I’ve been in the league. Looking forward to working against some different faces, different jerseys, and getting a gauge on how things are coming along for us.”
Belichick and Kelly have planned how they want the practices to go, but “once the ball is snapped, it’s all going to happen as it happens,” Belichick said. “But just structurally, things we want to try to get done, the drills, who’s going to go where, just to try to get organized so we’re efficient with it, that’s taken some time and communication to organize, but once we have the basic parameters of it, then we’re just on football, and we have to react to what they do, just like game situations, and vice-versa.
“I think that will be good for the players, the coaches, we’ll have to make adjustments down there; they’re running a new coaching staff, new scheme, new system, they have some new players, so we’re not doing a whole lot of scouting and preparation for them, we’ll just see when we get out there, we’ll have to react to it and adjust to it, and that will be good for us as well.”
After Saturday’s scrimmage, Belichick flew to Canton, Ohio, to see his friend and former boss Bill Parcells inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He enjoyed the experience.
“I’ve never been to that part of it (the induction ceremony) – I’ve been through the hall, although they’ve re-done it, it was always great, they’ve re-done it and they’ve got some amazing displays,” Belichick said. “And I’ve coached in the game a couple of times, but then you’re there with your team, so you’re not part of that, so this was the first time I’ve been through that.
“It was an amazing collection of all the icons from professional football – players, coaches, not just the people who are there in the gold jackets but also many of the other people that come for the event, so it was a great experience. It was awesome; it was impressive.
“It was great to see a lot of people I haven’t for a while, going back to Bill’s Giants days, but also many other people came to be there for coach Parcells and of course players that I have coached along the way. It was a good experience, and a great night for Bill.”
In other news, Belichick announced the Patriots have re-signed OL Matt Stankiewitch and LS Mike Zupancic.