For three days leading up to their preseason opener on Aug. 7, the Redskins will host the New England Patriots for joint practices at their training camp facility in Richmond, and the idea, according to coach Jay Gruden, came from Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick. (Reuters) Patriots Coach Bill Belichick. (Reuters)

Gruden said on Wednesday that Belichick reached out to the Redskins earlier this offseason and asked them what they thought.

Gruden, while offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, had a positive experience during joint practices with the Atlanta Falcons, and gave the proposal a thumbs up.

“It’s a great change,” Gruden explained on Wednesday. “You get into practice and you’re going through the one-a-days, you’re going through the walk-throughs in the afternoon and you do that about nine or 10 times and you’re like, ‘Gah.’ This is a great way to change it up a little bit and go against someone else and see where you are with your personnel – see their ones against your ones, twos against their twos, threes against their threes and it might juggle the depth chart a little bit after that.”

Gruden said that in addition to a change-up for the players, who will have only gone against their teammates the entire offseason, practicing against an unfamiliar opponent will give the coaches better evaluation opportunities leading up to the preseason game.

“I think from a rep standpoint I was able to get guys reps against other people that wasn’t necessarily scripted,” he said. “You know, a lot of times you script these plays and you kind of know where the defense is, you know what players are going to get, but these are unscripted plays and you’re able to see how players react to different types of things.

“One of the major issues in football is how players adjust, and if they can’t adjust to different looks, then they’re not going to be very effective. It’s a great opportunity for us to see how our players [play on the] offensive line, how we pick up different stunts and different fronts and defensive line, different blocking schemes, obviously route combinations against different coverages and different type meets in the secondary. And how people adjust and how our quarterback adjusts and how they see things, so it’s good for everybody.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

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