Bill Belichick says New England Patriots left early for South Florida to 'get acclimated to the conditions'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In a rare break from the norm, coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots arrived in South Florida on Tuesday, five days in advance of their season-opening game Sunday against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

The team is scheduled to hold practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Palm Beach Atlantic University, a small private college about an hour north of Miami's home stadium.

"I think it will give us a good chance just to focus on getting ready for the opening game, and get acclimated to the conditions, whatever they end up being down there," Belichick said in his weekly radio interview on sports radio WEEI.

The Patriots are 2-7 in their past nine games at Miami, and the Sunday forecast calls for a high of about 90 degrees, with humidity around 70%.

In January, longtime Patriots safety and captain Devin McCourty said "it's always a little bit of a shock in pregame" adjusting to the weather in South Florida. So with the Patriots playing there in the opening week of the season, it opened the option for them to travel earlier than the usual Saturday departure.

"In the end, it all looks like it's set up fairly well," Belichick said.

The Patriots held a light indoor practice at their home facility Tuesday before flying south. Quarterback Mac Jones endorsed the decision.

"I think it's good. It's getting used to your environment," Jones said Tuesday on WEEI. "Obviously flying, it's nice to get there early and your body can rest a little bit. And you can kind of just do your normal week. Nothing really changes for us -- have our meetings, have a good practice, and it's the same thing the next day."

Starting Patriots defensive tackle Davon Godchaux, who spent the first four years of his career with the Dolphins (2017-20), echoed those thoughts.

"It's very important. It can be raining or it can be hot, so it's going to be very important to go down early to get the guys who haven't been in the league, and haven't played in Miami, accustomed to the weather," he said.

Third-year safety Kyle Dugger added: "I think it will be huge, just getting there early and feeling it. Going out there, running around and kind of getting adjusted. The heat is what it is down there, so it's not going to take long to get adjusted. I think it's going to be super beneficial."