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Patriots to stay in Los Angeles in between Chargers, Rams games

Bill Belichick and the Patriots will stay on the west coast when they travel to face the NFL's Los Angeles teams.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots will stay on the west coast when they travel to face the NFL's Los Angeles teams.Elise Amendola/Associated Press

The Patriots are planning to stay in Los Angeles following Sunday’s game against the Chargers to prepare for their Thursday, Dec. 10 game against the Rams, according to a league source.

The plan is for the club to create a bubble-like atmosphere on the campus of UCLA, which went to fully remote learning after Thanksgiving, before and after their game against the Chargers. It’s unclear if the team will leave New England on Friday or Saturday.

Staying at the school complex will allow the team to bunk and practice at the same site, limiting exposure to the outside world during the pandemic. As always in 2020, plans could change depending on COVID-19 protocols.

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The league has limited lengthy road trips this season, but with a Sunday-Thursday turnaround, staying in town made a lot more sense than making four cross-country flights in less than a week.

UCLA will play host to the Patriots.
UCLA will play host to the Patriots.Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Patriots coach Bill Belichick and UCLA coach Chip Kelly have a close relationship and Kelly would frequently visit Foxborough for practices going back to his days at New Hampshire.

Practice squad additions

The Patriots added defensive back J.T. Hassell and offensive lineman Ross Reynolds to the practice squad Monday. Hassell, who played at Florida Institute of Technology, signed with the Browns as an undrafted rookie in 2019. He played four games last season and was released at the end of camp in September. Reynolds, an Iowa product, also was undrafted last year and signed with the 49ers, who released him in September after a year on the practice squad … Receiver Donte Moncrief and defensive tackle Akeem Spence, both big contributors in Sunday’s win over the Cardinals, were reverted to the practice squad. It’s likely they’ll be elevated again.

Trying to avoid Denver QB situation

Belichick was asked Monday if the club had given any thought to isolating one of its quarterbacks, including practice-squader Jake Dolegala, to avoid a situation similar to what happened in Denver, where all of the Broncos quarterbacks were ruled ineligible.

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“Yeah, well, I mean, that all sounds good. I don’t know how you teach two different rooms of players that play the same position,” said the coach. “Look, we separate people as much as we can anyway. There’s a certain element of players that play the same position being together. I mean, I think that’s unavoidable to a certain degree.

“Could you set it up differently? I guess you probably could. I’m sure there’s a lot of different ways to do it. We’ll continue to do what we feel like is best and safe. Obviously, if we didn’t do anything at all, we’d be safe, but I don’t think you can really practice and play very well doing it that way. So, at some point, you’ve got to meet, prepare and play. I’m sure if we all just sat around in a bubble, then maybe nobody would get anything, but I can’t imagine we’d be a very good football team. So, just try to strike the best balance we can to prepare, practice and play, so that’s what we’ll continue to do.’'


Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.