The competition in practice didn’t end for the New England Patriots when training camp broke and the 53-man roster was decided.
Practice gets heated every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Gillette Stadium between quarterback Tom Brady’s offense and cornerback Darrelle Revis and the defense. Revis told the media Thursday that Brady is the most competitive teammate he’s every played with, and the Patriots’ wide receivers raved over the summer about Revis’ ability to make his offensive teammates better.
Belichick said Friday during his news conference that while practice isn’t always set up to be combative, it’s nice to see some fire from both sides of the ball.
“I think the times when it is truly a competitive situation, I think it’s great,” Belichick said. “We saw that last year, last year and a half with (Aqib) Talib. The same kind of thing. They’re out there, and you know as a quarterback that probably — not going to be a lot of big windows to throw on with Revis. You’re going to have to make a really good throw.
“As a receiver, you’re going to have to run a really good route. You’re probably going to have to catch the ball away from your body, or in a place that’s a little more difficult because you’re not going to be able to gain as much separation from him. I’m sure that the defensive backs, Revis, (Brandon) Browner, (Patrick) Chung, (Devin) McCourty, whoever they are, know that the quarterback’s pretty accurate. Being close isn’t really good enough. You gotta be right on top of the guy. You gotta really be able to defend the route 100 percent, not 90 percent — it’s just not good enough.”
Edelman jokingly complained Wednesday that NFL officials should start coming to Patriots practices because the cornerbacks are “beating up” the wideouts.
The Patriots are 7-2 heading into Sunday night’s meeting with the Indianapolis and appear to be improving every week, so perhaps the added stakes that Belichick sets up in practice are paying off.
“Sometimes there’s stuff that’s riding on the final play, the final one-on-one play, the final pass-rush play for the whole group,” Belichick said. “Whichever guy wins, that’s some extra whatever involved. That increases the competitiveness level, not wanting to let your teammates down. Bragging rights, if you will. Yeah sure. I think that’s healthy.”
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