The New England Patriots will spend the majority of this week in Detroit to hold joint practices with the Lions — the first of two straight weeks the world champions will be on the road to practice against another team. Before heading down to Tennessee to team up with the Titans, however, head coach Bill Belichick’s squad will go up against the one coached by former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
Ahead of the first of three practices between his Patriots and the Lions, Belichick held a press conference to discuss among other topics the upcoming week which culminates in the preseason opener on Thursday night. Needless to say that the future Hall of Famer is appreciative of the opportunity to work with his former colleague: “It’s a great opportunity, especially with Matt and his staff. I feel like we can work with them.”
“Certainly it’s gone very smooth up to this point, I expect to continue the reciprocal cooperation to make sure that everybody gets as much out of it as we can individually, by unit, and as an entire team,” continued Belichick when speaking about the joint sessions. New England’s head coach, who never shied away from teaming up with another club during training camp, also spoke about the value this approach has.
“One of the great values of this is the number of quality reps that everybody can get between the game and practice,” said Belichick. “I think throughout our entire roster we feel very good about the opportunity we’ll have to look at everybody against quality competition. Getting experience to players who don’t have experience, guys that do have experience to do it in a controlled setting where we can get third down, red area, two-minute, and so forth.”
“We’ve done it against ourselves, but now we’re seeing it against other players, another team, a different scheme, and I’d say in a little more competitive situation,” the 67-year-old continued. “I think these are all good. It gives us a great opportunity to start to begin the process of seeing an opponent, recognizing the adjustments we need to make, making those adjustments quickly both as a coaching staff and as players and on each unit.”
All in all, Belichick called the sessions in Detroit “a good opportunity for our football team — our coaches, our players, our organization — as a road trip to fine-tune things on a lot of different levels and compete against a team we obviously weren’t very competitive against last year.” New England’s head coach, of course, spoke about his team’s 26-10 loss at the hands of the Lions during week three of last year’s regular season.
In 2018, the Patriots made the most out of their experience against Detroit and went on to win their next six games. Time will tell whether or not 2019’s meeting will have a similar effect on the team’s overall development, but the conditions are certainly perfect for the world champions to make the most out of it and, as Belichick put it, “improve over the next few days — that’s what we’re here for.”