The Patriots typically do their joint practices with teams in the NFC, or teams they don’t play that year, so to hear they intend to participate in them with the Raiders seems to be breaking traditions.
A common theme among former Patriots staff members is that they tend to try to bring what they learned from New England to their new team. When Matt Patricia went to the Lions, he brought in Jamie Collins, Danny Amendola, Duron Harmon, and Trey Flowers.
When Brian Flores became the Dolphins’ head coach, he brought Jason McCourty, Kyle Van Noy, Ted Karras, Elandon Roberts, and Eric Rowe. The list continues with Joe Judge, Bill O’Brien, Nick Caserio, and so many others. One thing all these examples have in common is that they never worked out.
Nearly every coach I mentioned returned to New England for a smaller position, with the exception of Flores who went to Pittsburgh. Bill O’Brien isn’t even an NFL coach anymore, as he now calls plays for Nick Saban’s Alabama offense. What makes Josh McDaniels think that this time will be different?
Breaking Traditions By Practicing With The Raiders
Josh McDaniels has already shown us that he intends on bringing the “Patriot Way” to Las Vegas, as he already brought in Jakob Johnson, Brandon Bolden, Chandler Jones, Duron Harmon, and offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi, and most recently Jarrett Stidham.
However, Josh McDaniels has something that a lot of these other teams didn’t: A talented roster. On the offensive side of the ball, McDaniels is working with Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, and Hunter Renfrow.
That unit is miles ahead of anything Flores, Patricia, and Judge had to work with. On defense, the Raiders have Maxx Crosby, Chandler Jones, Jayon Brown, and Tre’von Moehrig.
In all the other examples, the head coach was not the only problem. They often lacked a quarterback, offensive weapons, or any defensive talent. I think McDaniels could actually have something going here in Vegas. That’s where the joint practices with the Patriots come in…
Why are the Raiders and Patriots Holding Joint Practices?
There’s a novel connection between the Patriots and Raiders, one that will only last as long as McDaniels’ success. There are a few reasons why having joint practices could be beneficial to both teams.
A pretty important one that seems to be overlooked is morale and happiness. A lot of these players and coaches were very close back in New England, so seeing and competing against each other would be a nice reunion.
Another reason is to help the non-direct former Patriots understand the system that McDaniels is going for. Guys like Duron Harmon and Chandler Jones haven’t played for New England in a long time, so by playing with the current squad, they could better understand the culture and structure the Raiders are trying to build.
This is also just a regular joint practice between two NFL teams hoping to contend next season. Both the Raiders and Patriots have talented rosters, are well-coached, have youngsters to develop, and chemistry to build.
New England needs to develop their cornerbacks, and what better way to do that than to put them against the best route-runner in the league?
Derek Carr and Davante Adams haven’t played together since college, which was nearly a decade ago. These joint practices are a perfect opportunity to develop chemistry between players, especially when you’re playing against another team’s defense.
Although this joint practice will most likely be beneficial, problems could arise. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of these players and coaches were very close in New England, so there could even be some bad blood. Brawls during joint practices aren’t uncommon, and hopefully, there won’t be any between any Raiders or Patriots.
Especially after Josh McDaniels did some player/staff snatching from Belichick, there could be some animosity towards each other. The Raiders and Patriots are now scheduled to meet three times this season: In joint practices, in Week three of the pre-season, and in Week 15 of the regular season.
Another issue is that the teams will now know each other even better than they did before. After a practice together and a pre-season game, both teams will have an abundance of scouting. By Week 15, the Patriots and Raiders will know everything about each other.
Belichick and McDaniels will each have to come up with special, unpredictable game plans in order to beat each other in a game that could decide what the post-season picture looks like. There’s a reason why New England never holds joint practices with a team it will play against that season.
Check out our other articles @ The Gillette Gazette