Patriots tested in steamy 3-hour practice

RICHMOND, Va. -- The New England Patriots and Washington Redskins practiced for nearly three hours in 90-degree temperatures and fairly thick humidity on Tuesday afternoon, and coach Bill Belichick cracked his whip afterwards by having players run end-of-practice sprints.

"This is probably one of the longer practices I can remember," quarterback Tom Brady said. "It’s certainly not easy to come out here and be out here for three hours and every drill is competitive and every drill you want to do the right thing but that’s where the mental toughness comes into play. You have to hunker down and see where you’re at. Our guys have worked pretty hard over the last couple days. [You’ve] lost a lot of fluid, you have to get in and really hydrate yourself so you can come out tomorrow and be at it again."

As players ran after practice, they were reminded that being in condition comes into play in the fourth quarter of games as Belichick urged them to finish strong.

Overall, Brady explained one of the benefits of having joint practices, saying he received anywhere from 80-90 repetitions in team drills each of the last two days. He said it might take a full week of practice to get 80-90 repetitions when practicing with just the Patriots.

"We’ve run a lot of lot of plays," he said. "It was a lot to do. I think we’re going to learn a lot from today’s practice. It’s been a two fun days to go against another team and have a different kind of energy out here than a normal training camp practice.

"It’s very situational. There were a lot of two-minute drills, we did a lot of red-area stuff today, a lot of one-on-ones – just a lot of competitive situations. There’s not a lot of individual work in days like this. It’s just more competitive team stuff and we did a lot of different things. So, we’ll be able to learn from it. When you practice against your own defense, you get a lot of the same looks but what we’re seeing here the last couple days is pretty different than what our defense does so hopefully it serves us well in the long run."

"Long" and "run" were two of the buzzwords of the day, with some players tapping out of drills by the end of the session.

In his Tuesday news conference, Belichick had been asked about the condition of the team and said, "I think we’re making progress [but] I don’t think we’re where we need to be for the opener yet [Sept. 7 in Miami]."

Tuesday's practice appeared to push the Patriots closer in that direction.