<
>

Patriots using this week as 'dress rehearsal' for regular season

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As part of preparing his team for the 2015 regular season, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is using this week as a "dress rehearsal" of sorts to show players what it will be like when the games count. The plans are centered around Friday night's preseason game against the Panthers in Charlotte.

"This week will be a chance for us to do some of the regular-season-type preparation things we would do in terms of film study, meetings, practicing against ourselves but preparing for another team and all the things that go along with that," Belichick said. "It’s I think an important week for us in terms of starting to develop a little bit of a routine, especially for players that haven’t been in this program before for them to understand what the expectations are, what the routine is, where they should be at various points during the week leading up to the game."

As he often does during the season, Belichick led off his Tuesday news conference detailing some of the strengths of the opponent.

"We'll be playing against a real good football team. Carolina does a lot of things well," he said. "We certainly saw how well they played defense last year in the Arizona playoff game. But [they’re a] tough football team, well coached -- Ron [Rivera] does a good job on the fundamentals. They’re fundamentally sound. They do a lot of things well -- defensively, strong running game, mobile quarterback, big-play passing game, solid in the kicking game, big-play returner with [Ted] Ginn. [Graham] Gano has led the league in touchbacks the last couple years.

"They’re strong in every phase of the game -- that’s why they’re a good team. And they have a solid record and they have a lot of good players, so this will be another good opportunity for our football team to compete against another quality team, quality quarterback on the road. This is a big week in our preparation for the start of the season, and hopefully we can get as much out of it as we did last week."

A few other news and notes around the team:

  • When will Belichick retire? Here's a neat clip, from the team's official website, that previews the NFL Network "Do Your Job" special to air Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. ET.

  • Defensive end Rob Ninkovich on free-agent signing Jabaal Sheard: "[He's] done a great job coming in, working hard, trying to be that sponge and absorb everything he can. It's been fun to get to know him and work with him a little bit. It's a good thing to have a guy like that on the team."

  • Receiver Brian Tyms, who was waived on Monday, reverted to the Patriots' injured reserve list Tuesday when he wasn't claimed by another team.

  • Fullback Eric Kettani, who was a long shot to earn a roster spot, was released Tuesday.