Patriots brace for bad weather, field

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With the weather forecast in Chicago calling for snow showers, heavy winds, and temperatures in the low 20s for Sunday’s game, Patriots players on Thursday prepared for what could be their worst playing conditions to this point in the season.

“When we go out on our practice fields, we have a good amount of wind here as well,” kicker Shayne Graham said. “We play those conditions as if it were a game. …Over the years you learn how to compensate for the wind.”

“I’ve played in single-digit games before, I’ve played in below-zero games, I’ve played in 90-degree weather games. It’s going to be different each time. You don’t really do anything different when the ball is cold, you just do your best to focus on what your technique is, and on your execution,” Graham said.

Further complicating the conditions at Soldier Field on Sunday will be a newly re-sodded grass field.

“The biggest thing is to try to be a little easier on it, so you’re not putting as much pressure on your cleats when you’re trying to plant [for a kick],” Graham said. “You try to adapt to it the best you can.”

“When we get there on Sunday morning, we just have to go out there early and test the field out, test our shoes, and try to get our footing under us on Sunday. Go out there and deal with it,” running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis said.

While the new turf may make life harder for kickers like Graham, there are players who could benefit from the potentially unsteady footing.

“I hope it’s snowing, and the field gets all torn up,” guard Logan Mankins said. “It’s harder for someone to run fast, and [offensive] linemen aren’t fast. The [defensive] line is fast. I’d rather it be all torn up so that they can’t move.”