FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Rules, rules and rules.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about NFL rules – again – especially after the league admitted officials blew another call that could have affected the outcome of a game. That happened in the final minutes of Seattle’s 13-10 win over Detroit on Monday night when Seahawks defensive back K.J. Wright batted the ball out of the end zone after Detroit’s Calvin Johnson fumbled.

It should have been a penalty against Seattle for illegally batting the ball out of the end zone. Instead, the Seahawks were awarded a touchback and the ball at the 20. They were then able to run out the clock.

Players admitted afterward they knew nothing about the rule that prohibits batting a ball out of the end zone.

That probably wouldn’t have happened with the New England Patriots.

Immediately after Monday’s game, former Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin took to Twitter saying the Patriots “practiced how and when to bat the ball” during their situational practices.

For years we’ve heard about how Bill Belichick prepares his players for every possible situation: practicing in downpours to teach the players how to handle a wet ball; having defensive players use brooms to simulate tall pass rushers with long reach; simulating a speedy opposing wide receiver by having practice squad players line up two yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

This is another example of why the Patriots are usually among the best-prepared teams in the league.

The NFL rule book has 86 pages. It is probably impossible to know each and every rule. But Belichick certainly tries.

“We try to stay up on all situations,” said second-year running back James White before Wednesday’s practice. “So when a situation comes up in the game you make the right decision and make the smart decision.”

“You go over as many different situations as possible,” said linebacker Rob Ninkovich. “You try to do the right thing. I suppose at that time that particular player (K.J. Wright) thought he was doing the right thing.”

And that’s why the Patriots continually stress rules and situational play.

Belichick spoke at length – about eight minutes – about the rules and such instances in a Tuesday press conference.

He noted that the first thing the Patriots do with their rookies is sit them down and explain the differences between NFL rules and college football rules, of which “there are a significant number.”

“We go through a lot of different things, the changes, to help us transition to the NFL,” said rookie defensive tackle Trey Flowers.

Then NFL officials come in during the spring to talk to the coaching staff and team. NFL game officials also come in during training camp to work a few days, where they can go over any rule changes.

“It creates a good dialogue between the officials, the players and the coaches, and gives coaches and players an opportunity to ask questions,” said Belichick. “Sometimes the dialogue goes back and forth – how’s this being coached, how’s this being officiated and so forth. All of that is done with the intention of trying to get everybody on the same page.”

Belichick then has his position coaches break down rules or rule changes in individual drills. That’s where, he said, much of the learning takes place.

And during the course of the season, the Patriots will go back and look at pertinent rules and situations on film, with Belichick often changing the circumstances and asking what would have happened in that instance.

The Monday night incident was a perfect teaching point.

“The whole sideline, ball security, whistle, all those kind of ball possession plays, those are very important for everybody to understand and we stress those a lot,” said Belichick. “Any time the ball is loose, like it was in (Monday) night’s game, try to make sure everybody understands what they can do, what they can’t do.”

Nate Ebner, a core special teams player, certainly appreciates the amount of time spent on rules and situational play.

“It’s something that’s stressed, especially in the off-season when we have a lot of time to break that stuff down and work with our individual coaches,” he said. “It’s obviously an important part of the game. Things change and it’s important to be in touch with the rules.

“It’s a big rule book. We try to get (into) it as much as we can and expand our knowledge of the game.”

Even then, said Belichick, it’s impossible to know everything.

“It’s a lot for the officials to understand, it’s a lot for the coaches to understand, and it’s a lot for the players to understand,” he said. “It’s challenging for all of us.”