Every NFL team wants to be playing on Super Bowl Sunday each year. But an extra month of football can have residual effects once a team returns to work the following season.
That seems to be the case for the 2018 New England Patriots, who have dialed back the tempo and limited the number of competitive periods since beginning training camp two weeks ago.
One day after New England opened the preseason with a 26-17 win over the Washington Redskins, Patriots coach Bill Belichick acknowledged the team’s latest Super Bowl run — which ended in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in February — has impacted the way he’s structured practices this summer.
“Playing late into the season is definitely what we want to do, but it does affect the following season,” Belichick said in a conference call Friday morning. “We try to take everything into consideration — what our opportunities are, where we are as a football team collectively and individually with certain players who might need a modification of their workload — and try to do the best we can with that time.
“We have a general plan, but we discuss it each day and sometimes modify it. We usually try to stick pretty close to what we planned, but there are times when we can’t quite stay on schedule for one reason or another. There are a lot of factors involved, but that’s definitely one that comes into play.”
One of the more notable developments of camp has been quarterback Tom Brady’s limited workload. The 41-year-old sat out the majority of 11-on-11 drills over the last week and dressed but did not play against the Redskins.
“We have a number of players (whose) workloads are affected by other factors,” Belichick said when asked about Brady. “We take that into consideration with every player we put on the field. Some guys need modification for one reason or another. Depending on what we’re working on that particular day could impact that. That’s the way it’s always been.”
Asked whether he had any update or comment on the report that Brady is dealing with back soreness, Belichick responded: “No, sorry, I don’t.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images