The New England Patriots will face two NFC South teams, the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Bucccaneers, in preseason and in practice prior to those games.
The Buccaneers announced that prior to their preseason game against the Patriots on August 24, they will hold joint practices with them as well on August 22nd and 23rd. The Patriots will travel to Tampa Bay for the practices and the game.
This mirrors the Saints who will also face the Patriots in preseason on August 9 in Gillette Stadium. Before that game the Saints will travel to Foxborough, Mass. to hold joint practices with the Patriots on August 7th and 8th.
Surely Saints fans will not like the idea of their NFC South rival seemingly copying their move, but it’s not that uncommon for every NFL team to hold a joint practice with a team they will play in preseason. It keeps the player’s mind fresh against a new opponent and cuts the boredom.
ProFootballTalk.com also stated another reason for the move. Current Bucs head coach Greg Schiano had coached Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s son, who was a long snapper, when he was at Rutgers.
Belichick has always made accommodations to practice with the Saints due to his friendship and respect for suspended head coach Sean Payton. Now it looks like he will have another NFC South connection to work with.