PHILADEPHIA – The Patriots and Eagles have orchestrated three days worth of conjugal practices.
Friday night, whatever happens, happens.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Thursday that no pre-planning between the teams has gone on in order to ensure the team’s starters and backups are matching up time-wise.
“We’re playing, they’re playing,” Kelly said. “We scripted this stuff, but I think part of it for everybody is the game’s aren’t scripted. We didn’t talk about anything from a game standpoint at all.”
The week's practices, Kelly said, were so exhaustive that after nearly 7.5 hours of work, they’d seen a ton of situations.
“The great thing was in the week of work and today, we got some great special teams work and end of game situations that you may go four years of preseason and you’ll never see come up,” Kelly said. “It was good to get them in a position where we could script it out but the game’s gonna unfold the way the game unfolds and we’re gonna be tested because it is such a good football team.”
In the Patriots' preseason opener last season, Tom Brady played two series against the Saints, going 4-for-7, before yielding to Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett.
Brady didn’t play at all in second preseason game against the Eagles and in the third preseason game he played through the third quarter and was 13-for-20.
Whether the same script holds this year is something the Patriots don’t reveal. But Brady and the rest of the Patriots starters on both sides of the ball got a ton of reps all week against the Eagles starters so it wouldn’t surprise me if they played sparingly or not at all.
The Patriots face a tougher decision with their young wideouts. Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins have been on the field a lot. And they need to be. With they be asked to play longer than veteran starters would be asked to play because of their inexperience and the need for game reps or will the Patriots get them out of harm’s way early.