Belichick Talks About Depth, Trades in Division
By Ross Gienieczko
The third game of the preseason is traditionally the one that most resembles a regular season contest. Starters often play into the second half, a big shift from the opening weeks of the preseason, and it’s usually their last major game action before the season officially kicks off in week one.
Accordingly, Bill Belichick and the Patriots have treated the buildup to Friday night’s game against Carolina as a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
“It’s beneficial for everyone. We try to get our entire team on an approximation of a regular season routine,” Belichick said before practice Wednesday. “It’s a little different than what we did the majority of training camp. We did a little bit of that against Washington, more against Philadelphia, more this week. We change some things on our schedule around, off the field, our daily routines. We change some things on the field. That’s just the progression into the regular season.”
Still, there’s plenty of tinkering to be done with personnel groupings and roster decisions, especially concerning special teams and the bottom half of the roster.
“As we go through training camp as we always do, especially at this point in time, that second, third or fourth look of the preseason, it might be the best or only time to play players at multiple positions, maybe not the primary spot he’s been in, a different spot,” Belichick said. “Not that we’re necessarily trying to move the guy to a different position, but give us more depth and see how his versatility is able to help our team in the long run... We have to develop that type of depth for ourselves, particularly in the kicking game.”
Finally, Belichick discussed the roster shuffling that goes on throughout the league at this time of year and why fans shouldn’t expect any trades to be made within the division in the next few weeks.
“It’s always easier to talk with a team you’re not in direct competition with, either that’s not on your schedule, certainly not in your division. If they’re not on your schedule or not in your division, it makes it a lot easier,” he said. “I don’t think you see teams within the division trading players back and forth.