ATLANTA — Patriots coach Bill Belichick has pronounced his team “ready to go.”
New England went through its final practice of the week Friday, and Belichick told a pool reporter the practice was a “quick review” and similar to a regular Friday practice, just shorter. The Patriots went over situations, including red-zone, two-minute, goal-line, short-yardage and two-point plays.
“This is our sixth practice,” Belichick said. “We have hit everything. I think we are ready to go.”
The Patriots had one padded practice last week in Foxborough, Mass., but did not work out in pads this week at all.
“We went at a pretty good tempo. We’ve played a lot of football this year,” Belichick said.
The Patriots are fully healthy and everyone practiced Friday.
The Rams also are healthy.
Kicker Greg Zuerlein ended Friday’s practice with seven field-goal attempts and four kickoffs, removing any concerns about the health of his sore left foot. Safety Blake Countess (foot) was removed from the injury report.
“It was a great day today, getting Greg and Blake full,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “We’re going into this game as healthy as you could hope for. Now, really it’s about just tightening things up, making sure we clean up any of the last little details, a little bit over 48 hours out. But there’s a confidence that I think has been earned. Certainly, we respect the Patriots, but we’re coming here with the expectation of winning a game.”
Asked specifically about Zuerlein — who hit a 57-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Saints in the NFC title game — McVay said, “He felt good. He hit the ball well. He hit the kickoffs and his field goals really well. That’s kind of what we expected; that’s what we hoped, and he’ll be ready to go.”
Ronnie Barnes, the Giants’ senior vice president of medical services, was presented with a lifetime achievement award Thursday night at the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation’s Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.’s Salute to Excellence Awards in a ceremony in College Park, Ga. The foundation promotes diversity and minority hiring throughout the NFL.
“It is a real pleasure to be here and to accept this award,” Barnes said to an assemblage that included NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Giants president John Mara, and many coaches and executives, including former Giants general manager Jerry Reese.
“I’d like to thank Wellington Mara, our late owner. He appointed me as the head athletic trainer in 1980 and it was almost 23 years before there was another person of color who was tapped to lead a medical department in our league. For him to have the vision to do that, I am really thrilled and touched by him and by his family.”
Barnes, 66, has been with the Giants for 43 years.