Players on the New England Patriots always say that head coach Bill Belichick wants practice to be more difficult than the actual game so the team can be better prepared after kick off.
Belichick had his team play in the pouring rain and possible thunderstorms that required a weather advisory warning on July 29th during training camp. He’s also had them practice in the brutal humidity of this past week, with temperatures that felt like 100+ degrees.
The start of the 2016 season should be a cakewalk in comparison.
There’s a clear reason why Belichick is doing this to his team. The reality is that unless Belichick has the team practice inside the dome- and that would prevent the fans from watching practice- or moves to Canada for the offseason, they were always going to face the extreme New England weather.
“We try to do a good job of educating the players and also making sure the players are prepared for practice, and then at the end of practice that they recover, which there are various tools that we employ for that,” Belichick said on Monday. “But I think as a team we spend a lot of time educating them on all of the things that they need to do. Whatever the conditions are, that's part of it, but then there's just a general high performance, recovery, rest, high performance, recovery, you know, that's training camp, that's football season.
“Part of that we do as just the normal procedure and then whatever the conditions are that may require a little specific adaptation. For example, full hydration in conditions like this then we try to make sure they're educated on that. We also make sure we give them an opportunity to do it.”
Belichick, the gracious head coach that he is, is giving the players “an opportunity” to practice in this unforgiving heat. The Patriots historically struggle on the road against southern teams (read: Miami Dolphins) due to the heat and Belichick wants his team ready for the Cardinals.
Of course, the Cardinals rarely ever play with their roof open, and especially not in the September heat. They haven’t had their retractable roof open in September since the stadium opened in 2006. But Belichick wants to be ready just in case.
There’s also the idea that the Patriots will have three home games with Jimmy Garoppolo to start the season, so Belichick is getting the team acclimated to the temperamental Foxboro weather.
The Patriots are going to risk the elements, injuries, tempers, and exhaustion in order to be better conditioned than any other team in the league. Let’s hope it pays off.