Packing proper footwear important step vs. Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Among the things Bill Belichick reminded his Patriots players of this past week as they prepared and packed for their game against the Packers at Lambeau Field: Have the proper shoes and cleats.

When the Eagles played at Lambeau earlier this month, several players slipped on the field when cutting or trying to tackle. The surface at Lambeau, a combination of real grass and synthetic, can get slick. Packers players, used to the field, usually start with their screw-in cleats, not the molded ones, because they’re longer and provide better grip.

Belichick noted it’s not just the players who are responsible for making sure they’re wearing the proper footwear.

“We go through that every week,” he said. “It’s probably highlighted a little bit based on that [Eagles] game. But we do the same thing every week. It’s a combination of Dave [Schoenfeld] the equipment manager, looking at film, the coaches, the players, and just getting on the same page.

“Certainly as a player, probably the equipment that’s most important to him are his shoes because that’s where his confidence comes from, his footing, being able to change directions and play. That’s an important part of it, but there’s also the experience level of coaches and equipment people and what’s kind of the right thing to do.

“What’s right for one position or one player might not necessarily be right for another guy. I think that’s always an important decision to make, for the player to feel comfortable in his footwear and his footing, every week.”

Given that the Patriots will fly directly to San Diego after the game for a week of practice in California in advance of their Sunday night game against the Chargers Dec. 7, and with Qualcomm Stadium having a natural grass surface, players’ travel bags were heavier than normal as they left Gillette Stadium Saturday.

Peppers a factor

Green Bay veteran Julius Peppers has a long history of harassing quarterbacks — now in his 13th season, he has 124 sacks — but when asked Friday how Peppers can impact a game, Belichick mentioned a different statistic.

“He’s a big threat. He has 13 career blocked field goals, so that in itself is an issue,” Belichick said. “He’s very athletic. He’s long. He’s got great timing, so kicking the ball is an issue and then blocking him with the same issues.

“He’s obviously got a lot of experience, so it’s a tough matchup for whoever is on him — whether it’s the field goal team or a tackle or a tight end or whatever run or pass play you have called there. His length and his athleticism and his quickness — he’s usually got something on somebody. If he’s playing against bigger guys, he’s got quickness. Playing against smaller guys he’s got length and strength. It’s hard to find a guy that’s not somewhat at a disadvantage playing against him.”

In his first season with the Packers, Peppers has started all 11 games, and has five sacks and two interceptions, both of which he returned for TDs.

He does not have a blocked kick this year.

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