Last summer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers opened One Buccaneer Place to their preseason foes, the New England Patriots, for a pair of very useful joint practices. This year, the Patriots are returning the favor.
The Buccaneers and Patriots are scheduled to meet in the second week of the 2013 preseason on Friday, August 16, a game that will be broadcast to a national audience by FOX. Instead of flying in for the usual 48-hour road-game swing on Thursday, the Bucs will head up to Foxborough early for some additional work at Gillette Stadium, the site of both New England's training camp and that Friday night game.
The Buccaneers will arrive in time for a pair of joint practices on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 13 and 14. While the game will obviously be played inside the stadium, the preceding practices will actually be held on the fields located behind the stadium. Each team will conduct its usual day-before-the-game activities separately on Thursday before facing off on Friday night, with kickoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.
Last August, the Patriots rolled into Florida several days early for the exact same purpose, what New England Head Coach Bill Belichick called “a real productive couple of days." The Buccaneers also viewed the shared work as an opportunity to improve.
"It was definitely good work," said Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman at the time. "It's a great opportunity to practice against a quality opponent and try to get better. We had a chance to really go out and push ourselves. You got to come in and see some different looks and practice against somebody that's not your own teammate. I thought it was very productive."
Times and dates for those two practices have yet to be announced, but they will be open to the public. The Patriots will release additional training camp information in the near future.