New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady and most of the starters are expected to receive a majority of the playing time in Friday night’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. It will be the team’s third preseason game and the one that most resembles a regular season game. Brady told reporters after Wednesday’s practice that he is hoping to play well into the second half.
The 37-year-old quarterback is looking for both physical and mental work as the Patriots prepare for the regular season. Brady told reporters, “Coach [Bill Belichick] always does a great job of trying to keep us in great condition, so we do a lot of running in practice, post-practice runs.”
The Patriots have been practicing hard, so much so that Belichick didn’t play Brady or most of the starters in the team’s first preseason game against the Washington Redskins. Brady did get a taste of some action in the second preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but is itching for more. Practice is great, but it doesn’t tell you what you really have or where you are in your conditioning until you get out there in a real game situation.
Brady continued, “You have to get out there and play, get your mind working, and get into the situations and concentrate for extended periods of time, and certainly we’re going to be asked to do four quarters of that in three weeks, so we’ve got to go out and see where we’re at and hopefully we’re in good enough condition to play a half.”
He also sees the game against the Panthers as a good measuring stick as the two teams played a memorable Monday night game last season with the Panthers coming up on top. Although the game doesn’t count, the outcome is still fresh in the minds of Brady and the Patriots.
“This is a good game to really gauge where you’re at because we’re playing a really good team, a great defense, one that we played last year and really struggled with at times,” Brady said. “This will tell us where we’re at. We’ve got to go out there and execute really well in order to move the ball down the field. They’ve got some of the best linebackers, very good secondary, and one of the best pass rushes in all the league.”
It will definitely be a challenge on the Patriots offensive line that seemed to struggle at times during the first two preseason games. It will also be a test for the passing game. Brady will be looking to continue to build chemistry with second-year receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, Danny Amendola and former Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell.