Tom Brady and his fellow first teamers are set to take on an increased workload Friday night when they host the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium in their third preseason contest. The Patriots starters got their feet wet last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, but it really wasn’t enough to assess the team’s true potential.
In years past, we’ve seen coach Bill Belichick allow his starters to play deep into the third quarter of the Patriots third preseason game. That should be no different this week and Brady is one who expects to see a great deal of action.
“Coach told us we’re going to get a lot of work,” said Brady following Wednesday’s practice.
The amount of work Belichick speaks of obviously remains to be seen. What we do know is that he values getting an opportunity to experience halftime with his starters returning to the field in the third quarter. That will allow him to make adjustments to the game plan and to see how well his players respond.
“We’ll be prepared and ready to go for 60 minutes,” said Brady.
Now it’s unlikely Brady and the starters go the full 60, but the increased repetitions will definitely go a long way in terms of conditioning. With the regular season opener rapidly approaching, becoming game acclimated and performing efficiently in doing so is a priority.
“This a good game to really gauge where you’re at. You have to get out there and play and get your mind working, and get into the situations and concentrate for extended periods of time,” said Brady.
The Patriots have struggled in their third preseason game in recent years. They were blown out by the Detroit Lions last season and in 2011. Brady feels it’s important to have a solid showing this week.
“We’ve had a couple doozies in the third preseason game lately, Brady said. “It would be nice to have a good one.”
The Panthers also intend on playing their starting units deep into the game. Coach Ron Rivera revealed Wednesday that he plans to have his starters play at least 30 snaps on each side of the ball or the equivalent of a full half.
Friday’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. It can be seen locally on WBZ-TV and heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub.