Things haven’t come quite so easy this week in joint work with the Eagles, and the weather even took a turn for the worse on Wednesday as heavy rains poured down throughout the morning practice.
But the moisture certainly didn’t put a damper on the work that Brady feels like he’s been getting done against Philadelphia.
After sitting out last Thursday’s preseason opener against the Redskins, Brady’s status for this Friday night’s affair with the Eagles at Gillette Stadium is uncertain. Regardless of how much time he gets in game action against the Eagles, Brady is more than happy with the practice atmosphere leading up to the exhibition contest.
“They’re great because you got a lot of really competitive work in,” Brady raved of joint workouts. “In a preseason game, I don’t get as many reps, so certainly a lot of situational stuff we did today is so valuable because even though you know, it’s great to review and great to go over and to remind yourself, so when the games actually count you feel like you’re a little bit ahead. We’ve just got to keep it going. I think we just try to, ‘Keep stringing them together,’ as coach always says.”
Focusing on the work at hand each day, Brady doesn’t worry about how much game action he’ll see on Friday night.
“As much as coach lets me. He makes those decisions,” Brady said. “I’ll be ready to play for as long as he wants me to. That’s very valuable playing experience for me, too. It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been doing it, you’ve got to get out there and play under game situations and get your body going at the level that it needs to be at.”
He’ll also be trying to help his backups – fourth-year veteran
“Whatever we do, whoever is out there has to go out there and execute because our team really counts on that,” Brady concluded. “If the quarterback doesn’t play well, then it will pretty much suck for everybody else, so we’ve got to go out there and do the best we can.”
Given the space limitations with the Patriots Dana Farber Field-House indoor facility, and the fact that both New England and Philadelphia will clearly play weather games in the regular season, the two teams took Wednesday’s heavy rain as a positive training tool. Bill Belichick and Chip Kelly were more than happy to put their troops through what at times was essentially a carwash.
“It was good,” Brady said of the rain. “It was kind of a New England-type day. We had a bunch of these last year, and really for the most part the weather has been great all camp. It’s good to get work in like this. Certainly against a playoff-caliber team it’s always good.”
It’s apparently good for the defensive players to get used to it as well.
“You never know what type of precipitation you’re going to get, especially with home games at Gillette Stadium,”
“Like Bill says, whatever it is, it’s New England,”
A LaFell of a receiver
Brady has been clearly working hard to build a rapport with first-year Patriots receiver
“I’ve really enjoyed being with him. He’s added a lot,” Brady said of the former Panther. “He’s got a real love for the game, and he does a great job out there getting open. He just keeps making more plays. It’s really fun for a quarterback to see guys out there really working hard to make the improvements and then really do it, and hopefully it continues to carry over. It’s been a lot of fun to be with him. And Julian [Edelman] and Danny [Amendola] – [it’s the] same thing. KT [
For his part, LaFell is just working to fit in where he can within Brady’s more familiar arsenal.
“He trusts those guys. So I know that those guys are going to get the ball,” LaFell said. “But I know that in the red zone you kind of need that bigger body. And I’m hoping I can be that guy.”
Stop, drop and role?
While many make a big deal about guys like Jones – who played primarily 4-3 end over his first two seasons in New England – having to drop into space, the player himself doesn’t seem fazed with the new challenge.
“Believe it or not, it’s very similar. That defensive end hybrid outside linebacker position is very similar,” Jones said. “I feel like we’re doing the same exact things, maybe in different stances to start off with.”
Coming off a season in which he led the Patriots with 11.5 sacks while playing nearly every defensive snap, Jones is having fun in the new role.
“I enjoy it. It shows a little versatility,” Jones said, relaying that he’s dabbled in pass coverage throughout his playing career all the way back to high school. “It all goes back to whatever coach Belichick tells me to play, that’s what I’m going to play.”
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