The Patriots' tradition of holding joint training-camp practices, which give players an opportunity to hit people other than those in their own locker room, will continue in 2016.
The team announced on Monday that it will hold joint sessions with the Bears on Aug. 15 and 16, leading up to their preseason game in Foxboro on Thursday, Aug. 18.
The matchup will be an opportunity for several familiar faces to square off against one another after changing teams. Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett will get to work against Chicago's secondary for the first time since being traded to New England this offseason, while Patriots linebacker Shea McClellin will be pitted against the team that drafted him No. 19 overall in 2012.
For three former Patriots -- kicker Robbie Gould, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks and quarterback Brian Hoyer -- the trip to Gillette Stadium will allow them to revisit the facilities they once called home.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive end Chris Long may see the practices as a family reunion of sorts. Long's brother Kyle plays guard for the Bears, and McDaniels' younger brother Ben was hired by Chicago as an offensive quality control coach earlier this offseason.
Last summer, the Patriots participated in joint practices with the Saints at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. They've also practiced against the Redskins, Eagles and Buccaneers leading up to preseason games in years past.
Bill Belichick is a teacher. His father was a teacher. His mother was a teacher. He is very much their son in that regard.
The glimpses into Belichick's essence aren't as rare as you might think, but they still generate an inordinate amount of interest because he's arguably the best to ever execute the kind of teaching he's made his life's work.
Every time he takes several minutes to answer a conference call or press conference question thoughtfully, the hundreds of words found in the text of the transcribed answer typically create a stir on Twitter. NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, make every installment of the ‘Do Your Job’ series a must-watch.
Clips of Belichick on the practice field aren't necessarily hard to find, there just aren't many of them considering how many practices he's run over the course of his decades-long career. But thanks to more lax media policies at the college programs he visits for pro days, video of his on-the-field work pops up on a regular basis this time of year. They are mini-clinics dotting the internet.
This is Belichick in his element. Even in the middle of a random university campus. Even with scouts, coaches and front-office people from around the league watching his every move. Whether he's coaching players one-on-one or three or four at a time, Belichick is imparting his wisdom on eager close-to-blank slates. All the while he's trying to evaluate how they're absorbing what he's giving them. Do they pay attention? How do they process information? Are they error-repeaters?
It's a fascinating give-and-take between the 60-something coach trying to build a roster and the 20-something players trying to make one, some of whom hadn't yet hit kindergarten when Belichick won his first ring in New England. And he seems to enjoy it.
Here's a quick look at some of what Belichick has been up to the last few days at Georgia, South Carolina and NC State.
Linebacker Marquis Flowers is headed back to the Patriots on a one-year deal worth up to $2.55 million, according to his agent, Sean Stellato.
Flowers, 26, a sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014, was acquired by the Patriots near the end of training camp last year for a seventh-round pick.
More to come...