Healthy competition for Patriots-Redskins joint practice

RICHMOND, Va. — No your eyes are not deceiving you, and your calendar is not wrong.

It's only August, but that was New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady & Co. going at it in full pads against DeAngelo Hall and the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins and Patriots completed the first of three joint practices Monday at the Redskins' training camp facility here in Richmond.

The teams will then head to Landover, Md. on Thursday night for their first preseason game. But first, there's some dirty work to handle in Richmond. After the first couple of weeks of camp, the Redskins and Patriots finally get to hit different colored jerseys.

"Them guys, they're chirping early on," Hall said of the Patriots. "So it's definitely nice to finish on the ball, kind of simulate some live type situations."

While the teams were careful not to take things too far in the preseason, there was some legitimate competition right from the get-go. The teams faced off in a seven-on-seven session, and later combined for full 11-on-11 action.

Brady and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III looked sharp in the drills, and their lines held up well. But, for the young players especially, this week is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to prove themselves.

"They have to work through their techniques, their good fundamentals, they have to work through that," Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. "So I think that's the biggest thing that we take from it, is how the teams are matched against (other) teams."

Entering his third season, Griffin is technically still one of those young guys. Coming off a down season last year, in which the Redskins went 3-13, Griffin is hoping to use this week to pick the brain of Brady, who enters his 15th season.

The two spent some time chatting on the sideline during one of the 11-on-11 periods, and Griffin is looking forward to more.

"Hopefully I get a chance to sit down with him if he's not too busy," Griffin said. "We'll both be watching a lot of film and getting ready for tomorrow's practice. But hopefully I that chance."

One of Griffin's new weapons, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, got a chance to hit "Revis Island" early. Jackson and new Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis went head-to-head on several plays. Revis said he had a lot of respect for Jackson, and that he's one of the best in the league.

But at the same time, it's competition no matter who's on the other side of the line.

"Competition kicks in at that time," Revis said. "It might be a couple words out there. But at the same time, it's all in good favor. We know the Redskins just like they know us. Some of us are friends with each other … it's just competition."

Right after practice, the general consensus was that it was a productive time for both teams. Players will watch film soon and really see what was there. But as far as early observations, Griffin was pleased.

"I think everybody came out here ready to go," Griffin said. "We showed that we are a physical football team. We ran the ball extremely well, and I thought we pass protected pretty good as well."

The Patriots and Redskins are going to be seeing a lot of each other over the rest of the week, but according to Wilfork they're keeping it professional. And there's nothing wrong with that.

"We're all a big family, the NFL's a big family," Wilfork said.


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