Patriots to visit Redskins for joint practice sessions


Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots will visit the Washington Redskins for three joint practice sessions ahead of their preseason opener Thursday night at FedEx Field in the nation’s capital. The practices are opened to fans and will take place at the Redskins training ground.

Monday and Tuesday’s practices are slated to begin at 1:35 p.m., while Wednesday’s practice will begin at 8:35 a.m. Thursday’s preseason game will kick-off at 7:30 p.m.

New England holds an advantage over Washington on paper. The Pats boast more standout players on each side of the football. For the first time this summer they’ll get an opportunity to hit somebody other than their teammates.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the Patriots secondary brings the same sort of intensity that they’ve shown in practice thus far opposite Tom Brady this training camp. Newcomers Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner have dominated Brady’s receivers with lockdown, physical coverage. Revis even intercepted Brady for a touchdown in a team’s up drill.

Revis will find himself matched up against the speedy DeSean Jackson. Washington quarterback Robert Griffin also has offensive weapons Alfred Morris, Santana Moss and Pierre Garcon at his disposal. Washington’s speed will surely test a Pats defensive group that likes to play a physical style.

Griffin has gone on the record numerous times explaining how well he’s feeling now two years removed from knee surgery. His ability to scramble and throw down field will test the discipline of everyone on Bill Belichick’s defense. He’s an elusive playmaker. Practicing against him should only lead to further growth and improvement.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski will likely refrain from participation in the sessions. He’s yet to take part in team drills. Rookie tight ends Justin Jones and Asa Watson should see their fair share of reps. They’ll have a prime opportunity to impress the coaching staff.

The Pats also have to take a long look at their offensive line. Many guys have been rotating in and out at the interior line spots. The practice sessions will go a long way in helping to narrow down a starting group before they hit the field for actual game competition. Someone will have to step up and above the competition as there’s great depth up front this year.

Rookie running back James White should see a lot of action. He’s been getting rave reviews from all who have been around the team. His ability to influence both the passing and running game has opened they eyes of players and coaches. Facing an unfamiliar opponent should present a nice little hurdle for the youngster to overcome.

And then there’s Brady. Brady’s been tormented by arguably the best corner in the game for two weeks straight. While the Redskins do have DeAngelo Hall roaming the secondary, let’s face facts, he’s no Revis. Brady’s stiff competition has only forced him to be sharper and smarter. Look for him to have a strong week though, he’ll likely sit out Thursday’s game.