After rookie cornerback Isaiah Bolden suffered a concussion in Saturday’s preseason game and was carted off of the field on a backboard, the Patriots canceled their scheduled joint practices with the Tennessee Titans this week.
The Patriots were prepared for more contact this week but spent Tuesday’s practice taking it easier in shells and sweats, not full pads.
“We’re at the time of year where a lot of wheels are spinning,” head coach Bill Belichick said. “It’s not the same for everything. What the offense is doing might be different than what the defense is doing, which might be different than the kicking game, or priorities in the secondary, from the front seven, or the receivers or the offensive line. It’s not all straight line here. So, there’s corrections, there’s Tennessee, there’s the regular season, there’s other factors. So, we’ve got multiple things going on. That’s normal. It’s the way it is this time of year.”
The Patriots are preparing for Friday’s preseason game with the Titans, but they have roster cuts Tuesday and the regular season starts in less than three weeks.
They were in Green Bay last week for two competitive joint practices with the Packers.
“Mentally, we were ready to go to Tennessee,” safety Adrian Phillips said. “We understood that it was going to be a two-week type of deal. But with a little hiccup in our plans and coming back here, I think guys have adjusted well. You can never complain when you’re sleeping in your own bed. I think guys are just taking advantage of being here, taking advantage of being able to get the proper treatment that we need to go out there and play Friday. And really just staying locked in.”
Other teams around the NFL have canceled joint practices in recent weeks. The Eagles and Colts ended a joint practice prematurely Tuesday after a brawl erupted on the field.
The Patriots and Packers endured multiple scraps in last week’s joint practices. Patriots outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings was ejected from practice for hitting Packers rookie linebacker Keshawn Banks after a whistle.
Belichick said Monday that it was a “hard decision” to cancel joint practices with the Titans but one that was best for the team.
“Look, it is what it is. Coach decision,” center David Andrews said. “One day when I’m making the decisions, you can ask me. I’ll tell you. But Coach’s decision, make the most of it. We’ve got a really good defense that kind of does a little bit of everything, so it’s good to get out here and get competitive and just do what we’re asked.”
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