New England Patriots

Tom Brady and the Patriots practice inside Gillette Stadium on Dec. 19, 2019. (Matt Dolloff/WBZ-FM)

By Matt Dolloff,

FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots hold the vast majority of their practices on the side fields next to Gillette Stadium. But on Thursday, they took the rare step of practicing right on the actual game field. And it happened to come on the coldest day of the year in Foxboro.

There’s a connection. Belichick explained in his Thursday press conference, after asking reporters if they had thawed out, that the conditions on the grass practice fields made it worth avoiding them and opting for Gillette Stadium’s artificial turf. He replied “Probably the latter” when asked whether it was a matter of practicing on the same field as the game or whether the natural grass fields were too adversely affected.

As for attendance, only cornerback Jonathan Jones was missing from the media availability portion of practice on Thursday. He’s on track to be ruled out for Saturday’s game against the Bills, leaving the Patriots to turn to Jason McCourty or perhaps another option to play the slot.

Another cornerback the Pats will lean on, J.C. Jackson, couldn’t have been less concerned about the cold.

Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson practices on Dec. 19, 2019. (Matt Dolloff/WBZ-FM)

Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson practices on Dec. 19, 2019. (Matt Dolloff/WBZ-FM)

Thursday’s weather brought a high of 24 degrees fahrenheit, and it was closer to 15 degrees during practice around noontime. And with the typical New England wind chills, it felt even colder. But the Pats are used to it.

Unfortunately, grass is grass and can’t exactly get used to the cold. So the Pats opted for the more reliable turf on a day like this one.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at