MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — On Sunday, New England plays Miami’s Dolphins.
Before that, the Patriots will take on the Miami Heat.
High temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-60s to mid-70s around Foxborough, Massachusetts for the next few days — and as Patriots coach Bill Belichick sees it, those might not be the better weather conditions to prepare his team for the steam that awaits them in South Florida on Sunday when New England and Miami open the regular season.
So the Patriots fly south Tuesday, practicing this week in Palm Beach County, about an hour from the Dolphins’ facility. High temperatures there this week will reach the low 90s each day, and the game day forecast calls for more of the same — low 90s, lots of humidity, and as for Belichick’s preferred choice of clothing items, hoodies might not be the ideal choice.
“They’re raising the SPF better,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said.
Sunscreen — most likely of the high-SPF variety — will certainly be packed with all the gear the Patriots will be bringing south for the trip. It’s not a completely foreign concept for New England to take its show week on the road. the Patriots spent a week in Las Vegas last month before facing the Raiders there in a preseason game.
“I think there’s a combination of factors, but ultimately everything seems to be set up pretty well here,” Belichick said. “So make the trip on Tuesday instead of Saturday. We’ll already be down there. We’ll be able to just focus on the Dolphins.”
In recent years, even for a perennial winner like the Patriots, trips to the Sunshine State — where summer doesn’t end just because pumpkin spice has hit the stores — haven’t always been to New England’s liking, and the weather can was a factor in some of these results.
New England is 3-8 in its last 11 regular-season games played in Florida, including losses by double digits twice – a 97-degree day in Jacksonville in 2018 and an 89-degree day at Miami Gardens in 2014.
“It’s going to be great for the guys to acclimate to this heat,” Patriots defensive lineman Davon Godchaux, a former Dolphins player – who knows how different conditions are in South Florida – told reporters in Foxborough last week. “It’s either going to be hot down there or it’s going to rain.”
Maybe both. Forecasters also say there’s a better than 50-50 chance of rain on Sunday.
“I don’t think myself or coach Belichick — I don’t want to talk about him — but I think that’s just one element of him trying to help his team prepare for this game, but it’s not the whole thing.” McDaniel said. “I feel very lucky, almost too lucky, that I get to work on my tan all the time. I’m sure there are a lot of players and coaches for the Patriots (who will) be excited to, you know, get bronzed right before the regular TV season starts. I know that if you don’t wear sunscreen, you get bronzed.”
The Dolphins held a celebration of Jason Jenkins’ life on the field Monday. Jenkins spent nearly 14 years with the Dolphins, eventually becoming the team’s senior vice president of communications. He died unexpectedly on August 27 at the age of 47.
Jenkins is survived by his wife, Liz, and their three children. His passing is still very difficult for McDaniel to process.
“You just try to lean on the people you love and care about, and really try to lean on each other as a team and put your best foot forward,” McDaniel said. “But that feeling doesn’t go away.”
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