Bart Scott believes it was a “desperation move” for the Patriots to travel early to Southern Florida.
Devin McCourty disagrees.
Scott’s remarks might’ve been a tad strong, but you could argue he was onto something. New England’s decision to spend three days practicing at little-known, football-less Palm Beach Atlantic University ahead of Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins is unprecedented. And it certainly underscores how importantly Bill Belichick is taking this game relative to prior visits to Hard Rock Stadium.
During a Friday morning appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” McCourty was asked about Scott’s harsh assessment of the Patriots’ controversial Miami trip.
“We’ve played down here, call it, the two or three times, we haven’t won,” McCourty said. “So, I think switching it up, giving an opportunity to try and get used to the heat. … I think being down here has gotten guys acclimated to the heat. And, you know, I think for all of us, the plan is to go out there and play well and try to get a win. So, I think all of this comes from that.
“But ‘desperation?’ Nah, I don’t see it like that. But I’m playing on the team, so I don’t think I would. But I think it’s been good for us. I think guys have been out there practicing and felt good practicing in the heat. So, hopefully, it pays off for us.”
Ultimately, the conversation surrounding the Patriots’ trip won’t matter if they pick up a win on Sunday afternoon. And, considering New England is 2-7 in its last nine trips to Miami, the narrative could shift to Belichick making a decision that helped his team earn a needed victory.
Of course, if they lose, the Patriots likely will be mocked for taking a rare step that would be all for naught.