New England Patriots stay inside for practice during blizzard
By Brian Hines
The Northeast is getting slammed by a “bomb cyclone”, but that isn’t stopping the New England Patriots from getting to work.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick made it clear that players are expected to be on time for practice, even in the middle of a northeastern bomb cyclone.
But as the Patriots pulled into work this morning (all players arriving on time), they did not have to face the elements in practice. Belichick moved the practice inside of the Dana Farber Field House, given the inclement weather conditions.
Even with the practice indoors, players still were forced to make the walk from the Gillette locker room to the practice field, roughly 200 yards.
The Patriots are currently prepping for their divisional playoff game in nine days. Kickoff is set to take place at 8:15 p.m. and conditions could be somewhat similar. The current forecast is set to be around 20 degrees with a chance of snow showers.
As for the actual practice, the Patriots saw the return of an injured player for the second straight day. Pass rusher Eric Lee returned after running back Rex Burkhead and defensive tackle Alan Branch returned yesterday.
Lee missed practice last Friday, but ended up playing in the Week 17 game against the Jets. He missed practice on Wednesday with the same ankle injury, and should be good to go for the playoff game next week.
The lone player missing was running back Mike Gillislee. A knee injury has sidelined Gillislee since the Patriots Week 16 win over the Buffalo Bills. If Gillislee continues to show no improvement, he could land on the injured reserve, opening up space for wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell.
Mitchell returned to practice last week, but when he will be activated remains a question. The Patriots have until January 17 to activate the second-year receiver, which is the Wednesday before the AFC Championship Game.
Patriots offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, mentioned how Mitchell’s return is a “long process”, and the team doesn’t have to rush the receiver back. Hopefully, the weather in the Northeast will improve and the Patriots won’t have to trek through a blizzard to get to practice.