PHILADELPHIA – As his team filtered onto the fields at the NovaCare Complex for its first practice with the Eagles, Bill Belichick met with a fairly large contingent of Boston, Philadelphia and national reporters.
Belichick opened by re-stating his respect for first-year Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and how the time sharing a field with a different team can be beneficial for the Patriots.
“It’s really a great opportunity for us to come down here and work with the Eagles,” Belichick said. “I have so much respect for Chip and what he’s done; we’ve been friends for a while. I know he does a great job with his football team and the program that he’s run at Oregon and what he’s doing here, so I think it will be a good experience for our team to get to see some different people, different scheme, we’ll see some different matchups, I think it will be great for us from a coaching standpoint because we’ll certainly have to make some adjustments during practices and as we go.
“Relative to what they’re doing, we haven’t done any preparation or scouting reports or anything like that so a lot of it will be on the run, which will good for us too, in terms of matchups and communication and all those things. Excited to be here, and really looking forward to working with the Eagles – this has been an outstanding organization through the years and I’m sure that Chip will have them in a very competitive situation this year.”
This is the fifth time New England has held joint practices; beginning in 2010, they were with the Falcons and Saints, and then last year, it was the Saints and Buccaneers. The Bucs will be in Foxborough next week for a second go-round.
Belichick thinks the experience is good for everyone, players and coaches alike.
“It’s good for everybody. It’s good for the young guys, it’s good for the old guys, good for the old coaches, it’s good for all of us,” he said. “You see something new. We’ve been working against ourselves for a quite a while now, we sort of start to know each other’s plays, know each other’s calls, certainly know the guys we line up against on a regular basis. Now we get a whole new set of faces and looks, things we don’t know and things we’ll have to adjust to and react to – won’t be able to anticipate as well.
“Again, that will be good for all of us. It’s as helpful for the coaching staff as it is for the younger players and I think the veteran players look forward to it as well. Anything to break up the monotony of camp, I think they’re for.”
Kelly, a New Hampshire native who has ascended in the coaching ranks relatively quickly, is “a really solid coach and a solid guy,” Belichick said.
The former Oregon coach is known for his offense, which is run at hyper-speed. There are questions as to how it will translate to the NFL game, but Belichick anticipates his players being challenged in the coming days.
“We’re going to find out; we’re going to find out. Of course, what he did at Oregon, that was one thing, we’ll see how it all plays out here,” he said. “But he’s a very innovative, creative guy, he’s got a great mind, he’s smart, and I think he’ll take advantage of whatever resources he can, so we’ll see what that is. I’m sure he’ll give us plenty of trouble.”