By: Alex Del Barrio, Sportsradio 610By Alex Del Barrio

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (CBS HOUSTON) –  The New England Patriots and Houston Texans kicked off their joint workouts at the Greenbrier in West Virginia Tuesday ahead of the each team’s second preseason game Saturday at NRG Stadium.

Both franchises have taken to the joint practices in past seasons and with so many connections between the Texans and Patriots coaching staff holding one this season was logical when both learned the two would have a preseason match-up with each other in 2017.

“In the end, you want to work with somebody that you want to work with,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said before the two squads practiced Tuesday. “I think that’s the most important thing – the relationship with the team, with the organization. We feel like we have a good one with the Texans and with Coach O’Brien and his staff, so that’s why we’re here.”

Fo Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and his team the joint practices have been a regular occurrence since he took the job three seasons ago. He’s held workouts with the Redskins, Broncos, Falcons and others; but Tuesday was the first time he held a workout against his former employer.

As a former offensive assistant that grew into the team’s offensive coordinator, O’Brien looked at the practice on Tuesday as a way to improve his team against a perennial Super Bowl contender.

“It’s (a) really good opportunity for us to go up against a great offense and I’m sure it’s a great opportunity for them to go up against a good defense,” O’Brien said. “On our side of the ball, I thought, offensively, we did some decent things against a good defense. It’s good to go against a very well-coached defense like that for us.”

Besides Bill O’Brien, there are several former Patriots players and coaches on the current Houston staff including assistant head coach Romeo Crennel and new defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel.

Belichick praised Vrabel’s on-field abilities and referred to him as a “grinder”. Belichick added that Crennel was someone who did a lot for him in his coaching career citing nearly 35 years of friendship with his former DC.

Belichick is among many in the New England in the organization with a large amount of respect for the work of O’Brien with the Texans.

“The program has gotten stronger every year. I’m sure they’re continuing to head up. We have a lot of respect for Bill and his coaching staff, this football team, the program he runs – a tremendous amount of respect.

While there are a lot of freindships and connections between the two sides, O’Brien indicated that the competetion ramps up once they get into practice mode.

“A lot of these guys are real close friends of mine,” O’Brien said. “Nick Caserio, Josh McDaniels, these guys are some of my best friends. It’s always good to see those guys, but once we hit the field, it’s all about trying to gain more yards than they do, trying to get the ball in the end zone, all those different things.”

Alex Del Barrio covers the Houston Texans for Sportsradio610.com and is the color commentator for the Houston Dynamo. He also hosts “ADB and Murph” with Matt Murphy which can be heard on Saturday afternoons 4-7 pm  Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio

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