While nothing has been finalized yet, all signs point towards the New England Patriots holding joint training camp practices ahead of two of their preseason games. The team is expected to join forces with the Eagles heading into their August 19 meeting in Philadelphia, and 10 days later with the New York Giants before the preseason finale.
Given New England’s history with both franchises, neither set of joint practices comes as a surprise: the Patriots and Eagles have held workouts together before, while the Giants are the team’s traditional opponent in the final week of preseason — all while being coached by long-time Bill Belichick assistant Joe Judge.
The connection between Belichick and Judge as well as the slashing of the preseason schedule from four to three games could now lead to those joint sessions becoming an annual event. Alternating between cities depending on where the game will be played, there has been talk about the two teams working alongside each other on a yearly basis — something Judge addressed during a press conference on Thursday.
Speaking about the rumored practices with the Patriots, he touched on the advantages and also all but confirmed that a) this year’s set would be taking place at Gillette Stadium despite the game eventually being played in New York, and b) that plans are in the making for conducting joint sessions on an annual basis.
“We’ve talked about that, that’s the plan right now. There are some things that aren’t finalized, but the thought process behind that is that it’s an opportunity to get our team on the road through training camp, stay together.” he said.
“With the change in the preseason schedule, both organizations thought it would be a good idea to exchange a little bit year by year and that way the fans would have two exposures to really deal with each team. We’ve got two home games this year. We’re fortunate. New England has got the one. Next year it will flip. This will give us an opportunity, especially when we have fans, for our fans to see us exposed against another opponent.”
Belichick, meanwhile, had fewer words to say about potentially joining forces with the Giants (and Eagles) this summer.
“I think that’s a possibility. We’ll see how it goes,” he said on Thursday.
The Patriots and the Giants are scheduled to meet at East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium on August 29, with joint practices taking place in the days leading into the contest.
At that point, both teams’ rosters will already be smaller than the offseason standard of 90 players per team. Cutdowns to 85 will take place after the first preseason game — against the Washington Football Team, in New England’s case — and from 85 to 80 following the Eagles game a week later. Two days after the contest against the Giants, the Patriots will then have to finalize their 53-man roster heading into the regular season.
That game and the joint practices leading up to it will therefore be huge for bubble players trying to make it onto the team.