Patriots: Previewing joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles

The Patriots play the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night in pre-season game number two but before the two teams meet on the game field, they will meet on the practice field for two practices today and tomorrow. Here is what we can expect from the joint practices between the two teams.

1. Individual competition drills: You can expect to see a lot of one on ones both along the offensive and defensive lines and between the skill groups. Individual competition drills are a big part of joint practices because they allow the players to compete against someone other than their teammates and it is a great evaluation period for the coaching staffs.

2. Group work: There will be a heavy emphasis on group work during the two practices. Both teams will partake in inside run and Skelly (7 on 7). Group is important because it where you can work on your base running game on offense and your fronts on defense.

Skelly is important because your quarterbacks and receivers can work on their routes and timing while your edge defenders, safeties and cornerbacks can work on on coverages, adjustments and checks.

3 Situational Periods: Situational periods are an essential part of joint practices. Both coaching staffs want to work situations so they will embed situations throughout practice whether it be in group, specialty periods or team.

4. Compete Level: Coaches will use joint practices to see who on their team wants to compete, specifically amongst the rookies or the players who will need to earn a spot. That is why you will see coaching staffs implement competition periods within the practice to get the maximum amount of competition. Not every period will be a compete period. Some periods are teaching periods.

5. Evaluate: Joint practices are used to evaluate your team and the team you are practicing with. With Tuesday being the first cut down day, it is almost a certainty that both Bill Belichick and Eagles coach Nick Siriani will be keeping a close eye on each others back ups and young players. If they like a player and that player gets cut by the end of camp, they can potentially sign them.

Joint practices are are beneficial for both teams. They create competition, allow coaches to work on certain things they cannot in a regular practice and they are a great evaluation tool. Both the Patriots and the Eagles will benefit greatly from these practices.