December 29, 2012

Pats' preparedness always in the forecast

Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night will keep Bill Belichick and Co. from being ready to play Miami or anybody.

By MATTHEW CARROLL The Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Bill Belichick doesn't masquerade as a meteorologist.

Bill Belichick
click image to enlarge

Bill Belichick didn’t move practices indoors this week, choosing instead to prep the Patriots for the kind of game conditions they’ll likely face late Sunday afternoon in Foxborough.

The Associated Press

Chandler Jones
click image to enlarge

Defensive end Chandler Jones won’t be challenging Tom Brady’s lock on the quarterback position, but he still enjoys tossing the football around during practice this week in Foxborough.

The Associated Press


WHO: Patriots (11-4) vs. Miami Dolphins (7-8)

WHEN: 4:25 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Gillette Stadium



AFC TITLE: Beat the Dolphins AND have the Texans (at the Colts) and the Broncos (home vs. the Chiefs) lose

AFC NO. 2 SEED: Beat the Dolphins and have the Texans OR the Broncos lose

However, the New England coach once again has his team acclimated for whatever inclement weather may swoop in Sunday for the season finale against Miami.

Rather than shifting practice indoors as they have before, the Patriots practiced outside Thursday despite cold, driving rain, and again Friday in chilly temperatures in anticipation of a winter storm expected to dump a few inches of snow late Saturday.

Temperatures are expected to hover in the mid- to low 20s for kickoff late Sunday afternoon.

"Whatever we get Sunday, we get. We're not trying to forecast it," Belichick said. "We'll just practice in whatever comes. I'm sure sooner or later we'll get something similar."

For the second straight year, though, the region has endured a tepid winter in the month of December, a far cry from some of the more memorable games played in the snow at Gillette Stadium.

And that might be just fine with the Dolphins (7-8). But some members of the Patriots (11-4) are welcoming this long overdue cold front.

"It doesn't bother us," linebacker Jerod Mayo said. "You don't see a lot of us out there in sleeves. When you see other teams coming from other places, they're kind of sleeved up a little bit."

Yet whether rain, snow or sunshine, Miami has had its share of difficulties traveling to Foxborough since quarterback Tom Brady took the reigns of New England's offense in 2001.

The Patriots are 9-2 at home against the Dolphins since then, and the two losses didn't occur on Brady's watch, either. Brady was already sidelined for the season when New England and backup quarterback Matt Cassel lost to Miami in September 2008, and the three-time Super Bowl MVP played just one quarter before resting for the playoffs in a 28-26 setback on New Year's Day in 2005.

It only gets worse for the Dolphins in the winter, too. Miami is 1-6 in Foxborough in either December or January over the past 11 seasons.

Call it a homefield advantage.

"I wouldn't say that it's advantageous, but I definitely feel like I can play in the snow," said rookie defensive end Chandler Jones. "I like playing in the snow, to be honest with you. The cold weather doesn't affect me at all."

The Patriots defense is well aware that the unpredictable climate could play a pivotal role in ball security. Members of the secondary are on high alert for turnovers.

Considering New England is second in the league with 39 takeaways, though, that's nothing new.

"I think you've got to have a heightened awareness when you get in these games because no matter how mentally strong guys are, it does change things -- your hands get cold and different things like that," safety Devin McCourty said. "Defensively, we definitely try to have more of an awareness to try to attack the ball."

Just because the Dolphins typically play half of their games under the warm southern sun doesn't mean they're going to freeze at the first sight of snow.

In fact, another warm-weather team -- the San Francisco 49ers -- traveled to New England on a cold, rainy night two weeks ago and overpowered the Patriots, handing them their lone loss over their past nine games.

"They're a professional football team, they'll be ready to go," McCourty said. "I don't think it's nothing new for them They've done it before, they did it last year, so I'm sure they'll be ready to go."

And after already playing a pair of December games in Florida, the Patriots are embracing whatever weather rolls their way.

"We've had a very fortunate December around here. It's been good," Mayo said. "Our other games we had were in Miami and in Jacksonville. The weather won't be a problem at all. We enjoy the rain."

Mayo then shifted his focus to the true opponent.

"We're not playing the weather," he added, "we're playing the Dolphins."


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)



Clearing the Bases - Yesterday
Pitching, pitching, pitching

More PPH Blogs

Winter sports 2013-2014

High School Football 2013

Fall sports photos