RICHMOND – New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick praised the Washington Redskins for scheduling three joint practices here before the teams meet Thursday in a preseason opener at FedEx Field. President and General Manager Bruce Allen and new head coach Jay Gruden planned the sessions well, Belichick said Monday.
“Coach Gruden has been very accommodating and hospitable with the arrangements,” Belichick said. “We worked together well, in terms of the practice schedule and the organization.
“I’m looking forward to being out there and competing with the Redskins, making our team better. It’ll be a great opportunity for coaches to also start working on things like adjustments and corrections.”
Under Coach Bill Belichick, who is beginning his 15th season with the Patriots, the team has been a model of consistency, reaching the playoffs 12 times, winning five AFC titles and three Super Bowl championships. During the same span, the Redskins have had eight head coaches (one was an interim). Washington has finished last or tied for last in the NFC East division seven times – including six of the past eight seasons – made only three postseason appearances and won one playoff game.
For anyone who doubts there’s a link between front-office stability and success in professional sports, just look at the Patriots and Redskins.
With extensive control over the football operation, Belichick is in charge of building the Patriots’ roster. He developed a winning program that has provided the foundation for the team’s remarkable consistency. In an era in which the salary cap has resulted in parity across the league, the Patriots have had only one losing season. Belichick hopes the joint practices will help the Patriots keep on rolling.
“Once the preseason schedule came out and we saw that we open in Washington, Bruce, Jay and I made contact … and talked about the [potential] opportunity of working against each other,” Belichick said. “Jay and I talked about it and felt like we could make it work based on what our goals were. As a head coach of an NFL team, you don’t really get many opportunities to see what other people are doing.”
After being in training camp so long, the Patriots are eager to practice against the Redskins. “You’re seeing a totally different group of players, No. 1, so the matchups are different,” said Belichick, whose record with the Patriots is 163-61.
“We’ve worked against our guys. Now, we’re working against players with different skills. We’re working against a different scheme.
“Their offense, their defense and their special teams is certainly not [similar to] ours. We’ll see different things. We’ll see [different things] over the course of the year. That’s a great experience for us.”
The Redskins began their first joint practice with the New England Patriots Monday at 8:35 a.m. Here’s our camp guide, if you’re planning to attend.
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