Patriots depart for Super Bowl LII after 'slow burn' of preparations

Woody: Fans should appreciate Patriots' run (1:54)

Damien Woody says the run the Patriots are on right now is something we probably won't see again and people from the outside looking in should appreciate it. (1:54)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots depart for Super Bowl LII on Monday after a morning fan rally, as they continue what safety/captain Duron Harmon called a "slow burn" of preparations.

Harmon credited the team's coaching staff for the gradual way the past week has unfolded, with players being given just enough information to maintain momentum, but not too much that they peak too early. On Saturday, Harmon estimated about 70 percent of the defensive game plan is in.

That gives the team some things to work toward when it holds the first practice of Super Bowl week on Wednesday at the Vikings' facility in Eden Prairie.

"It's a steady build towards the game," said third-year safety Jordan Richards. "You don't want to do so much that you get burned out and the information becomes stale, and you spend time in Minnesota playing around and doing other things. So a lot of it is studying your opponent and just building, building, building up to Sunday."

Richards explained that players are used to the steady build taking place from Sunday to Sunday, so the extra week stretches things out.

"It's a progression in terms of our scheme and also studying their players in all phases," Richards said. "You have to take advantage of the extra time. It's no good if you don't use it. It's pacing the information, pacing your studying. ... This isn't Coach [Bill] Belichick's first Super Bowl, and for a lot of guys on this team it isn't their first, but for a lot of guys on this team [18] this may be their first. So it's on everybody to do the best we can to prepare for the game, over two weeks."

The approach is similar to how the Patriots handled their Super Bowl preparations last year, which worked out well for them.

A review of the past week:

Monday: Super Bowl logistics. Players were in for meetings and relayed that the message from the coaching staff was to take care of all ticket requests by the time they returned to work on Wednesday. Players carried red folders that included seating charts at U.S. Bank Stadium and other information.

Tuesday: Players day off. For the coaches, it was a "major work day," according to Belichick. He estimated that the staff evaluated about 2,500 Eagles plays. The goal was to be able to have the most accurate information for players when they returned to the facility Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday: Eagles 101. It was an afternoon of meetings for players in which they began the process of getting familiar with the Eagles. Players also did their standard training in the weight room.

Thursday: First practice of the week. It was held on the lower practice field in light shoulder pads.

Friday: Walk-through practice inside the Empower Fieldhouse. More mental work than physical.

Saturday: Third practice, on the lower practice field. Tight end Rob Gronkowski and defensive end Deatrich Wise, both of whom were concussed in the AFC Championship Game, returned to the field.

Sunday: Fourth practice, on the lower practice field.

Monday: Travel day.

Tuesday: Players day off (with a noon ET media obligation).