FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is looking forward to this week’s joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles for the second straight year.
”This will be a good opportunity for our team to play against the Eagles – the offense and defenses and schemes that they run, the players they have,” Belichick said Monday.
Talking about last year’s workouts at the Eagles’ camp, Belichick said, ”It was great … Chip (Kelly) and I kind of talked about the things we that felt like our teams needed and I think we were able to accomplish those in the practice sessions.”
The teams will practice together Tuesday and Wednesday and then play a preseason game Friday night at Gillette Stadium. Last week, the Patriots did the same thing against Washington before losing 23-6 to the Redskins on Thursday night.
”A lot of young guys played in the game and I’m sure it will be that way again this week,” Belichick said. ”But (the) practice sessions … we got a lot of experienced players playing against each other in situational play and I think that will serve us well and did serve us well last year.
”I don’t want to speak for Chip, but I think that we both felt that it was productive last year, and we’ve decided not to make many changes.”
Veteran offensive guard Logan Mankins, who sat out the preseason opener, is looking for improvement from his team.
”We should get better this week, we’ve had a game under our belt,” he said. ”If you’re staying the same and not improving you might as well be getting worse, so we need to start putting good practices together day after day. The main thing is stop making the same mistakes, and that’s how you start to improve.”
NFL game officials, who are dealing with some rule changes, will be on hand for these practices.
New England will also see Eagles cornerback Cary Williams, who called the Patriots ”cheaters” after last year’s workouts and added, ”It’s a fact that they haven’t won a Super Bowl since Spygate.”
Williams, ejected from one of last year’s practices for fighting with Patriots receiver Aaron Dobson, has not backed off the comments.
”Did I say the wrong thing? No,” he told Philadelphia media. ”I stand firm on what my beliefs are, and that’s just that. I didn’t tell a lie. At the end of the day, that did happen. It’s in the history books. As far as I’m concerned, I made a comment about it and that’s that.”
Asked Monday to comment on Williams, Belichick said, ”You should talk to him about it.”
Said Mankins: ”I don’t even know what he was saying but I’m sure it wasn’t the smartest thing in the world that he said – so I’m not worried about it.”
NOTES: Predicted all-day rain threatens the teams working out outside on Wednesday. … Backup QB Ryan Mallett, who played a shaky half in last week’s preseason opener, was missing from practice for a second straight day with what has been reported as a left knee problem. … Dobson (foot) and top draft pick Dominique Easley (knee) were removed from the PUP list and participated in practice for the first time, while TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) joined 7-on-7 drills for the first time. … Undrafted free agent CB Malcolm Butler (West Alabama) has been impressive throughout and came up with a nifty interception of a pass by Tom Brady during 11-on-11s Monday. ”I think he’s done a good job every day, coming out there being ready to compete,” Belichick said. . Owner Robert Kraft and Boston College hockey coach Jerry York were on hand for Monday’s practice. Also on the field was former Tampa bay and Rutgers coach Greg Schiano