There has been a lot of debate over the past week of just how long we should see Tom Brady and Co. out there for Week 3 of the Preseason against Detroit. Here’s my take on what we should expect to see tomorrow night.

The Lions are considered to have one of the top Defensive Lines in Football, and they added to it in this year’s draft with the acquisition of Auburn legend and Lombardi Trophy winner, Nick Fairley. Due to a foot injury, he won’t be participating this weekend however, they still have Corey Williams and Ndamukong Suh; two proven talents at the Defensive Tackle position. Suh is as infamous for his cheap shots every now and then as he is his spectacular play making ability. He ‘choke slammed’ Jake Delhomme last Preseason, and threw a helmet-less Andy Dalton to the ground this time around. No doubt he has many Patriots fans worried after their Franchise Quarterback Tom Brady, who signed a 4 year $72 million contract extension at the beginning of last season. The Patriots started off cold against Detroit in last season’s Thanksgiving Day match-up which saw Brady getting hit far too much for most people’s comfort!

This has led some fans to debate just how much playing time Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots’ starters should get. A lot argue as little as possible. However, I think you’re going to be surprised at just how much playing time they do get. Rather than two or three drives, I think we’re talking two to three quarters. Yes you did hear me correctly…quarters!

Bill Belichick is renowned for saying that injuries can happen at any stage, of any game. Be it the first snap of Preseason, half way through or even the last snap of the Regular Season. Woodhead’s minor injury last week was the result of him being on the Punt Return Unit deep into the game against the Buccaneers. Welker sustained an injury in the first quarter of a meaningless Week 17 game in 2009. I think it’s safe to say that Belichick has no qualms going against what others think he should do, and playing his players when he feels he should.

Not only that, this is as close to the Regular Season as Preseason gets. Week 3 is traditionally a ‘dress rehearsal’ of a Regular Season game. Belichick uses it to get his returning players re-acclimated and his first year players used to the atmosphere of the build up to a competitive fixture. He will want his starters to show him they can maintain a full half of Football but, not only that, he will want them to show him that they can come out after half time and implement his adjustments and keep the momentum going! Therefore, don’t be surprised to see the starters out there for a full half and then maybe one drive after the interval!

Rest assured however that after that, they will be back safely on the sidelines! Week 4 will see them have very limited, if any, playing time. Week 4 being the game in which our fringe players come in to show Belichick that they should make our final 53!

Like what you read? Check out the rest of my blog ’4th & Long’ for more! If you would like to comment and offer your insight into this article, feel free to leave your thoughts! You can follow me on twitter; @DamoJarrett

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