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One day after the mild knee sprain that spawned a thousand heart attacks and "Happy Birthday Tim, it's me, God" jokes throughout New England, it sounds like we can all stop panicking now. Per ESPN's Ed Werder:



 

Obviously this is great news and it does seem like the Patriots dodged a very dangerous bullet. If Werder's source is correct, Brady absolutely could go out there and play Friday.

That doesn't mean he should. Even if there is nothing more than a little soreness in the knee, what the hell is the point of pushing it in a meaningless preseason game. If you give Brady the night off, you buy him 3 full days to rest up going into next week.

This is especially important because next week is arguably the most important week of the preseason. You absolutely want Brady out there in the all important "dress rehearsal" third preseason game. Not only is it the one game in August in which the starters play significant snaps, but it's also Brady's last chance to build chemistry in live competition with his young receivers.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe argues in his column today that the Patriots should sit Brady for the rest of the preseason. Noting the star-crossed nature of the Patriots offseason, Volin decides that Brady is too important to risk anything happening to him. He has defended his position on twitter with examples of players who have excelled despite missing the preseason, with Randy Moss's record shattering 2007 and Brian Hartline's unexpected breakthrough season last year as prime examples.

Despite squeezing an awesome Simpsons reference into his column, Volin is wrong. Throughout his career, Brady has talked about the importance of the preseason to get back into a rhythm before the regular season starts. No matter how much you practice, there is no way to replicate the speed and intensity of a game unless you go out there and play.

Of course, there is a small risk to having Brady out there in August, but there's a risk anytime you step on a football field, game or practice. Especially with a new, inexperienced group of receivers, it's important for Brady to get some more game action with them before the season starts. However, there's no reason to push it tomorrow with another game left to go. Give Ryan Mallett the practice (he could use it) and get Brady right for next week's tilt with the Lions.


Ned Brady 8/15/2013 01:33:00 PM Edit
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