FOXBORO — As native New Englanders would say, Thursday is going to be a ‘scorch-ah’ in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
With temperatures expected to reach the upper 90s, amidst high humidity, the air quality will be heavy and less-than-pleasant throughout the region. However, for New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, it is just another day at the office.
Ironically, the Patriots rookies may have found a way to beat the heat on Thursday.
In what has become an annual tradition, the newest Patriots participated in a diving-for-fumbles drill on a patch of waterlogged grass on the far corner of the practice field. The portion of practice, affectionately called the ‘Foxboro Slip-N-Slide,’ sees rookie players and coaches attempting to recover the footballs rolled by quarterback Mac Jones, while special teams captain douses them with a hose. The drill is run as Rose Royce’s disco classic “Car Wash” blares in the background.
Said rookie Cole Strange, “I feel like I practiced better today. Maybe we should do it more often.”
Who said the Patriots don’t know how to have fun?
Having practiced in shells just one day earlier, the Pats once again put on the pads as they continue their march toward preseason game one against the New York Giants on Aug. 11.
Despite the heat, Belichick remains confident that his team is well-equipped to handle any of Mother Nature’s elements; expressing his belief that if the circumstances cannot be controlled, the team must prepare for any and all conditions.
“We try to monitor player hydration and workload … but we do that every day,” Belichick told reporters prior to Thursday’s practice. “But [the weather] is really out of our control. It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s rainy, it snows. We can’t control it. [Today] it’s hot … it will be hot in Miami … it will be hot in Vegas.”
The Patriots will travel for joint practices with the Las Vegas Raiders prior to the preseason finale on Friday, Aug. 26 at Allegiant Stadium. The will open the regular season on Sept. 11 against the Dolphins in Miami.
Still, the heat is not the only element of enemy to Belichick’s plans of preparation. Prior to a December 2021 matchup with their AFC East rivals, the Buffalo Bills, Belichick expounded on his philosophy regarding practicing in adverse weather conditions and keeping his team prepared.
“I would say, on the weather, we don’t really spend a lot of time on that,” Belichick said in December via video conference. “We practice in a variety of conditions from the start of training camp to the end of the preseason, so whenever they come up, they come up. We learn from those. Those may or may not be what we get that particular week. Somewhere along the line, it could come into play. We talk about that, how it would affect certain plays, situations, ball handling, et cetera. It's kind of a continual conversation we have on that.”