BOSTON (CBS) -- The Patriots will hit each other for a couple of more days at Gillette Stadium before heading to West Virginia and taking aim at the New Orleans Saints.
After practices on Monday and Tuesday, the Patriots will pack up and ship off to The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia to join Drew Brees and the Saints on their practice field. They'll hit the field together on Wednesday and Thursday, ahead of their preseason tilt on Saturday night.
The Patriots and Saints also practiced together in Foxboro in 2010 and 2012, and both teams praised the experience as a great way to break up the monotony of training camp -- and the benefit of hitting someone other than your teammates. Patriots players are certainly excited for the opportunity.
"I think it helps training camp a little bit when you get to go out there and practice against a different team, see different looks, not seeing the same guys, hitting on the same guys every day," said safety Devin McCourty. "I also think it's good for the young guys. You get to see a different look. You come into the NFL and it's just your team, you start to think that's all you're going to see. Obviously, our offense gives us a lot, but I think it's always good to see other good players, especially on defense to see a guy like Drew Brees in practice, that will definitely help."
"It's always fun to go out and compete against different guys. Like I said, we do go against each other every single day, so it will be fun to go out and smack pads a little bit with the Saints, for sure," added defensive end Chandler Jones.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Monday there won't be much time for fun on this upcoming business trip.
"I don't think there will be any golf clubs on this trip. It's a business trip. There are a lot of things that we can do to help our football team," said Belichick. "We have a lot of work to do when we're down there, both with the Saints and then also watching the practices. Now that the preseason games are starting to roll in, looking at our early opponents as well as the teams that will be upcoming on our preseason schedule – the Panthers and the Giants. Really now is the time of year when a lot of times you're looking at three, four, five different teams – New Orleans, getting ahead on Carolina, the Giants, Pittsburgh, obviously – teams in the early part of the schedule just to kind of start to get a feel for them of what you did in the offseason, is that kind of what we're seeing now in training camp or preseason games from them."
Joint practices provide both sides with some very valuable time on the field. It offers a nice change from playing against your own defense or offense, and while the two teams won't be trying to gain any kind of edge against each other, it's still going head-to-head against the competition.
The joint sessions will provide an even better chance for the Patriots to work on situational football, and allow players who might not see much of the field in the preseason games to take some very meaningful reps. Quarterback Tom Brady only took seven snaps on Thursday, and may not play much more come Saturday night, but will get a lot more out of the two joint sessions than those brief appearances in the games.
The Patriots also held joint practice sessions with the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles last summer.
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