HOUSTON -- Though Tom Brady played just 17 snaps on Saturday against the Texans, and though he got his offense into the end zone just once in an abbreviated night of work, his team's second preseason game served as a reminder that the Patriots have a surplus of weaponry.
Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis looked dynamic. Rob Gronkowski impacted coverage even when he wasn't targeted. Brandin Cooks was in uniform for the first time and caught a pass from Brady. Malcolm Mitchell saw plenty of work with Jimmy Garoppolo. James O'Shaughnessy looked like a viable third option at tight end.
That's not even mentioning players like James White, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Dwayne Allen (all of whom are healthy) or Mike Gillislee (who is still working his way back from injury).
The variety of options Brady can lean on in a given week, the matchups he and Josh McDaniels will try to dictate by using certain personnel groupings and formations, will be an every-evolving storyline over the course of the 2017 season. And Brady knows it.
"I think that’s what makes a great offense, having a lot of versatility," Brady said after the game. "I’ve said for a long time, I throw where the guys are open. If they double someone, everyone else is singled across the board, so you’ve just got to be careful about who you double. If we’ve got the right play call against a certain defense, it’s tough to stop us.
"We were decent out there, obviously had quite a few mistakes we’ve got to clean up, but it’s a good defense. We’re going to see them quickly. We had a good week of practice against them. It was a lot of fun . . . It will be a little bit different next time we play them."
Next time Brady and the Patriots see the Texans will be in Week 3, which will pit one of the league's most amorphous offenses against one of its best defenses.