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What's with the joint practices?

Posted by Albert Breer  May 25, 2010 03:30 PM

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As you can see in that picture (Thanks to the Houston Chronicle), these joint practice deals in the summer can get a little heated. And those kinds of fisticuffs can be a benefit for the teams involved, with players bonding in getting each others' backs. It also, of course, provides a break in the monotony of camp.

But why now? Why after a decade of not doing it, have the Patriots scheduled not one, but two of these sets of practices?

Well, here's one thing to consider: The looming possibility of the 18-game schedule. I touched on this at the bottom of my Sunday Notes last week, after the news of the Patriots-Falcons practices came on, and I'll hit on it here again.

If the league does expand the regular-season slate, the plan would be to cut back to two preseason games, and coaches would look for a way to compensate for the loss of competition before things start to count. One way to do it would be by adding more of these "joint practices" into the training camp routine.

Now, the league won't go to 18 games before 2012. But this could be a way of gearing up for that, so teams will be more ready for the possibility that these practices could eventually be more of a necessity.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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