FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bill Belichick had the New England Patriots practice inside the Empower Field House on Wednesday in full pads with the heat turned up as the team prepares for playing in warmer temperatures Monday night against the Miami Dolphins. It was a rare switch from the normal routine.
"It makes it hot, I'll tell you that," relayed safety Devin McCourty. "It definitely is a little different than being outside. That's the hope, that's the plan, to get some heat. For us, we're not going to get 80 degrees. We can't get that up here. So I think it helps a little bit that it's a big change on the body so hopefully when we go down there Monday night that change will be scaled back a little bit."
The current forecast in Miami Gardens calls for cooler temperatures than the norm, with a high of 64 degrees for the team's arrival on Sunday, and then a high of 69 on game day Monday, with lows around 40 degrees.
That's still warmer than what the Patriots would have practiced in had they been outside on Wednesday.
"It helps some people, just trying to get your body acclimated to the heat, so it's definitely a little different than practicing out there in the cold weather New England has," fullback James Develin said. "We'll see come Monday."
Added receiver Brandin Cooks, "I think anything like that helps, absolutely."
The heated indoor practice had rookie tight end Jacob Hollister reflecting on his junior college days at Arizona Western, when workouts would often be sizzling. "I love playing in the heat," he said.
McCourty, now in his eighth NFL season, touched on how playing in South Florida late in the year can create a challenging contrast for Patriots players.
"That's something that you always say it's not a factor but I mean it's tough to go -- sometimes we play out there or we play in December when we're out here practicing; we've had some decent weather this year but there's times it's 20 degrees outside every day and then we go down there Sunday at 1 p.m. and it's 75 [and] sunny. So that's tough and then they're usually a good football team," he said.
"They play really well at home. ... We're going to get their best shot I think in every phase of the game. So we have to be well–prepared in everything we do."