FOXBOROUGH — They’re ready for some football.
With the rest and relaxation of the bye week firmly in the rearview, several Patriots said Friday they are excited to play a game for the first time since their 37-20 loss to the Ravens Nov. 3.
“It’s been a while since we’ve played . . . and I was talking to the guys this morning and just the general tone of the team, I feel like we’re excited to play,’’ said Bill Belichick. “I’m excited to get back out there and do what we do.
“So, the Eagles are a tough team to prepare for. We spent a lot of time getting ready for them this week. It’s definitely a challenge, but I think we’re getting to the point here where it’s time to go out there and put it on the field.’’
Tom Brady is eager to not only get back under center but also to get the bad taste of the Ravens game out of his mouth.
“We didn’t play great the last time out, so it’s another good test for us and we’re going to have to get off to better start,’’ the quarterback said. “You know, you do that on the road, it’s tough to overcome those. Any team that gets down 17-0, 21-0, whatever, 14-0, on the road, it’s pretty tough.
“That’s the way we want to play — play from ahead — and we’re going to have to play well to get off to a fast start.’’
Julian Edelman said it feels like it’s “been a super long time” since they’ve played, and he’s looking forward to the atmosphere in Philadelphia.
“Sometimes the bye is great and then it’s like, ‘Let’s get this show on the road,’ ’’ the receiver said. “I’m sick of being on the practice field. I want to go play football. You sit and you have a lot of time to prepare and it’s almost like, ‘Let’s go.’ It’s definitely awesome that it’s only two days away.’’
Belichick was well aware of the late-game brawl involving the Browns and Steelers Thursday night, and said he had already addressed those types of things with his team multiple times.
Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was handed an indefinite suspension after he tore off Mason Rudolph’s helmet and plunked the Steelers quarterback on the head with it. Additionally, Cleveland’s Larry Ogunjobi (one game) and Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey (three games) were suspended.
Both organizations were fined $250,000.
“Every situation’s different — there’s not two that are the same,’’ said Belichick. “We can go back, look at 50 of those through the years, some type of fighting or ejections or whatever. They’re all a little bit different.
“But yeah, fundamentally, I tell players what we should do in those situations, how we should handle them, and I think they’ve done a good job of it.’’
The coach said there’s another reason why you don’t see such melees involving his club.
“We have a lot of good players, a lot of unselfish players,’’ said Belichick, who tosses guys for fighting during camp practices. “So, I think that’s really the key to it.’’
Receiver Phillip Dorsett was still shaking his head about the incident after Friday’s practice.
“I was not amazed — I was in awe of what was going on,’’ said Dorsett. “It’s tough. I figured that the league was probably going to come down hard.
“[Garrett] doesn’t seem like that type of guy, but obviously he made a bad mistake. He just lost it. But it happened and now you’ve got to suffer the consequences.’’
Like his coach, Dorsett reiterated that his club is full of unselfish players.
“We’ve never really been put in a situation like that,” he said. “I mean, it happens, it’s football, people lose their cool a lot. But we preach.
“Obviously you can’t touch an official, you can’t throw a punch. You can’t do things like that, and we know that, because at the end of the day, if we do that, we’re hurting our team. If you can’t play . . . we need everyone, it’s a team sport.’’
Brady said Belichick uses incidents such as Thursday night’s as teaching moments when addressing the team.
“He talks about not throwing punches, not touching the referees, and, you know, standing on the sideline,’’ said Brady.
Asked how he’s managed to stay out of on-field fracases despite things getting heated many times throughout his 20-year career, Brady pointed out that he’s only been given one unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
“Probably deserved a few more,’’ he said with a sheepish smile.
Nate Ebner, who missed the last two days dealing with ankle and back injuries, returned to the field as the Patriots held their final practice of the week.The Patriots had their entire 53-man roster at the shells-and-sweats workout, with only practice squad safety Obi Melifonwu absent. Though the Patriots listed seven players as limited, none were ruled out for Sunday’s game. They were: Ebner, Patrick Chung (heel/chest), John Simon (elbow), Danny Shelton (ankle), Matt LaCosse (knee), Gunner Olszewski (ankle/hamstring), and Damien Harris (hamstring).
Good humor man
Belichick provided some levity when asked if he found out about Garrett by checking his social media accounts first thing in the morning. “Pretty much,” he quipped. “See what happened, yeah, and check it out. Absolutely. Interact with everybody and see what they think. Yeah, get my opinions out there, because I don’t want to get left behind on that. Yeah, then brush my teeth.’’ . . . The Eagles signed veteran running back Jay Ajayi after putting Darren Sproles on injured reserve. Fellow back Jordan Howard (shoulder) is questionable. The Eagles also will be without receiver Alshon Jeffery and linebacker Nigel Bradham, who are out with ankle injuries.