How Much Will Brady Be Involved Against Tampa Bay?

Tom Brady and other offensive starters saw no time on the field during our 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, mainly due to the hectic schedule. So with our game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday, followed five days later by our annual preseason game against the New York Giants, how much playing time will the starters see on Thursday?

My feeling is quite a lot. With the third game of preseason usually known as the "dress rehearsal" for the season, I can see Brady and co getting at least a quarter on the field, and I'd say a quarter and a half. After getting less than a quarter against the New Orleans Saints, and nothing against the Eagles, they'll need a lot of time on Thursday. This is on my assumption that they'll get two series maximum against the Giants to avoid injuries before the season starts.

Even the greats get rusty, so Brady will benefit from some game time. The starting O-Line will benefit from having Brady at QB, they can get used to the blocking plays that Brady prefers. Players like Brandon Lloyd will benefit from extended game time with Brady, time in game situations is more helpful for those two than on the practice field. It will also be a good tester for Rob Gronkowski, who is coming off off-season surgery.

This should be the preseason game we need to pay the most attention to. The way the Patriots play on Thursday will be a great indicator as to how players look and how the team will perform in the 2012 season.