Patriots, Richmond excited for practices

RICHMOND, Virginia -- The New England Patriots traveled to Richmond on Sunday in advance of three days of joint practices with the Washington Redskins. The visit has generated a buzz in the city.

A banner tease across the front page of Sunday's Richmond Times-Dispatch reads "Patriots visit draws national attention." The centerpiece of the Times-Dispatch sports page includes pictures of quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Tom Brady with the headline "Spotlight on the City."

Fun stuff, and something Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been looking forward to since reaching out to first-year Washington coach Jay Gruden months ago about the possibility.

"I think it will be a good opportunity for us, so hopefully we’re ready for it," Belichick said. "Just getting a different look, looking at different schemes, different players, different matchups. Hopefully it will help our evaluation of our team."

Another potential benefit for the Patriots is that temperatures are expected to be hot (upper 80s) and humid, which they will surely be in the regular-season opener at Miami on Sept. 7.

Players will be in full pads Monday and Tuesday, while Wednesday's session will not be in full pads.

"Obviously we’re not game planning for them or anything. We’ll just go down there, do what we do and they’ll do what they do and we’ll kind of figure it out as we go," Belichick said. "It will be a good experience for us to work against Coach [Jay] Gruden’s offense, Coach [Jim] Haslett’s defense and see some different matchups. We’ve seen our guys go against our guys a lot and now we’ll get to see them go against somebody else."

A heavy emphasis on situational football is expected.

"You name it, we'll run every situation," Haslett said, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "Goal-line plays, two-minute drills, red zone, 9-on-7. Everything."

Brady was looking forward to the change-up after eight training camp practices back in Foxborough.

"You’ll get some different competition. This is all good for us," he said. "There are sometimes when you play a team twice in a year, and they’re really familiar with you, you’re familiar with them, and ultimately you’ve got to go out and the fundamentals of the game kick in. You’ve got to make the plays, you’ve got to make the reads, you’ve got to do the fundamentals of the game that allow you to win the game. Block, tackle -- all those things are really important. That’s kind of the fundamentals of the camp.

"You can’t scheme every play against our particular defense. We’re just trying to install the things that we do. There are some plays that we run that we’d probably never run if we knew a team was going to play this style of defense that they’re playing, but it’s still good work."