FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick has put in countless hours preparing to attack and counterattack schemes devised by Adam Gase.
The Patriots coach has often talked of his respect and admiration for Gase, the former head coach of the Dolphins and current head coach of the Jets, whom New England will face Monday night in the Meadowlands.
But it wasn’t until after Gase’s tenure in Miami ended that Belichick had a chance to have an in-depth conversation with him. Their interactions had been limited to brief postgame chats.
Gase revealed Thursday how much he appreciated hearing from one of the top coaches in the fraternity.
“After I left Miami, he called me and we had a discussion about that ending and seeing what I was going to do moving forward,” Gase said. “That was kind of the starting point there. We just had a conversation to kind of see what my next steps were going to be.”
Gase, of course, stayed in the AFC East, quickly signing on with the Jets.
“I was very appreciative,” he said. “Not having ever had a conversation except after games, which was usually short when I was in Miami, to be able to have a conversation with him and kind of hear his experiences and how to go about things moving forward — he didn’t have to go out of his way to do that. I thought that was somebody great for me to hear from.”
The pair have many common connections.
Gase worked for Belichick’s close friend Nick Saban at Michigan State and LSU. Gase was also the Broncos' receivers coach during Josh McDaniels’s time as head coach in Denver.
Since that conversation, Gase said, he has spent time with Belichick at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he’s gained knowledge and enjoyed laughter.
“I always try to listen as much as possible because I know there’s a lot of wisdom in the things that he says,” said Gase. "And things that he’s always talked about when I’ve been around have been very helpful just as a professional growth-type of deal for me.
"At the same time, I don’t think I’ve laughed harder being around somebody. Just some of the things that get brought up and some of the things he’s experienced in his life. He’s experienced some things that are interesting to hear.
“When you’re around him and Matt Patricia, those two guys together are funny to be around.”
The Patriots were missing three starters, including a pair of key defenders, as they began preparations for the Jets with a full-pads practice in spring-like conditions Thursday.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who suffered a knee injury in practice last week and missed the trip to Buffalo, and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, who sustained a shoulder injury against the Bills, were among the missing. Guy is also nursing elbow and knee ailments.
Receiver N’Keal Harry, who was hurt in the 49ers game Oct. 25 and continues to proceed through concussion protocols, remained out.
Running back J.J. Taylor (sickness), practice squad defensive end Rashod Berry, and defensive tackle Carl Davis (concussion) also weren’t at the session.
Newcomers Isaiah Ford and Isaiah Mack are prohibited from practicing as they go through COVID-19 protocols.
There was good practice news, as Sony Michel returned. The third-year running back continues to recuperate from a quadriceps injury suffered in Week 3. Michel, who has 173 rushing yards on 26 carries this season, is eligible to be activated off injured reserve and play against the Jets after missing the last three games … Receiver Donte Moncrief and defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow, who were signed to the practice squad Wednesday, practiced for the first time … In addition to the DNPs, the Patriots had a dozen players who were limited: LBs Ja’Whaun Bentley (groin) and Shilique Calhoun (knee); safety Kyle Dugger (ankle); cornerback J.C. Jackson (knee); defensive ends John Simon (elbow) and Deatrich Wise (knee, hand); guards Joe Thuney (ankle) and Shaq Mason (calf); tackle Isaiah Wynn (ankle); running back Damien Harris (ankle); and tight ends Ryan Izzo (hamstring) and Dalton Keene (knee) … In addition to Ford and Moncrief, the Patriots also put in a claim for receiver Dante Pettis, who was waived by the 49ers earlier in the week, according to an ESPN report. Pettis, however, landed with Joe Judge and the Giants, who had a higher claim priority based on their 1-6 record … Gase called Ford, whom he coached in Miami, “a good get” for the Patriots … Jets quarterback Sam Darnold sat out practice as he continues to deal with a right shoulder injury. Gase said he’s still hopeful Darnold will be able to give it a go Monday.