Pats stressing red zone success in first weeks of camp

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Bill Belichick has built his reputation on situational excellence: Patriots teams have set the standard for nearly two decades in the red zone and in last-minute drives. So it's no surprise that in the first week of training camp, New England has stressed the importance of red zone success throughout practice.

NBC Sports Boston reported that in the first two days of padded practices, the Pats finished with goal-line drills--one of the most violent and fundamental red zone scenarios. While usually there are only five or fewer snaps, they're some of the most exciting snaps in practice. Linebacker Elandon Roberts elaborated:

"Just think about this: Fourth and one. The other team's gotta score. Goal line is in. You know that it's us against you. Last play...It's situations. Situational football. They're going for it. You know they're not kicking a field goal. There's seven points you can take off the board. It's a big emotional swing, too, for our offense. Our defense, at that time, when we're live, we're ready to go."

D-lineman Trey Flowers echoed Roberts' sentiments: "It's the closest to the game you're going to get. You know you gotta get yourself amped up and ready to play, but you've also gotta understand your fundamentals and technique and don't lose those basic skills and fundamentals as far as eye control, pressing the blocker, finding the ball, things like that. I think it's just the closest to a realistic drill that you have."

Flowers also distilled the essence of goal-line drills into a simple package: "Fourth and one . . . only one winner," he said. "You just gotta focus on it and do the best you can." With so few opportunities to exactly mimic game situations in practice now, red-zone drills are one key way the Pats are already preparing for the upcoming season.

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