FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The Patriots hit the practice field for one final time Monday before the Panthers come to town.
Beginning on Tuesday, the teams will hold joint practices at Gillette Stadium ahead of their preseason matchup Friday night.
Speaking to reporters, the Patriots players and coaches agreed that having another team to compete against helps change the pace and predictability of their practices.
“It breaks up the monotony of training camp,” linebackers coach Jerod Mayo said.
“You’re no longer going up against your defense, you’re no longer doing one-on-ones against your guys,” center David Andrews said. “It’s really the Patriots versus the Panthers, and so that’s what it will be. It’s great competition, it’s ways to see different looks.”
Head coach Bill Belichick said it’s important for players to see new individual matchups and schemes.
“With a new team, everything’s kind of new,” he said. “It kind of keeps you on your toes and forces more communication and more awareness, and we need that.”
Offensive assistants Matt Patricia and Joe Judge wouldn’t speak on who’s calling the team’s plays, since Belichick has yet to name an offensive coordinator.
“I think for me, since I’ve been here long enough, I’ve learned to enjoy the process,” Patricia said. “We’ll talk tomorrow on how to handle the next couple days.”
Several players were absent from Monday’s practice, including OT Isaiah Wynn and CB Malcolm Butler.
Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on The CW Providence.