NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

August 6, 2013

Patriots' Wilfork eager for joint practices

By Jimmy Golen
AP Sports Writer

---- — FOXBOROUGH (AP) — New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork has had enough of the same old faces over the first nine years of his career and the first two weeks of training camp.

“Any time you can go against someone other than your teammates, it’s always a good measurement of where you’re at,” he said after practice yesterday before the Patriots left for Philadelphia, where they will hold joint practices and play a preseason game against the Eagles. “Going out and practicing with them and then going out to play against them, it’s going to be a pretty good indicator of where we are as a team and as individuals.”

The Patriots practiced in shorts and shoulder pads yesterday, working on situational plays like Hail Marys and hard counts. They were scheduled to fly to Philadelphia in the afternoon for two days of joint practices.

The exhibition season opens on Friday night against the Eagles. Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the coaches had not decided whether quarterback Tom Brady will play in Friday night’s game. Brady typically plays about two series in the first preseason game, though in 2011 he did not play at all.

“We really haven’t even talked about that,” he said. “We’ll have those discussions as we get closer to the game.”

Belichick said the joint practices will help the Patriots see some different things — and former Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s offense is more different than most. With the Ducks, Kelly played a fast-paced offense that averaged 83 plays per game in 2012 and ranked in the top 10 in total plays twice in four years.

“We’ll have to make adjustments down there,” Belichick said. “They’re running a new coaching staff, new scheme, new system; they have some new players. So we’re not really doing a whole lot of scouting and preparation for them. We’ll just see what we get out there. We’ll have to react to it and adjust to it, but that will be good for us as well.”

Wilfork said the Eagles “have a bunch of talent” and said Kelly gives them a new look.

“We’re looking forward to having the chance to go down and work against a good football team, a young team, a new head coach that’s coming in with a little swagger that he’s bringing from college,” he said. “We’ll see where we’re at.”

Also yesterday, the Patriots signed two rookie free agents to their roster.

Offensive lineman Matt Stankiewitch, 23, started all 25 games at center as a junior and senior at Penn State and was a team captain for the East in the East-West Shrine game. Mike Zupancic, 23, was a three-year letter-earner as the long snapper at Eastern Michigan.