When the New England Patriots took to the field for their first preseason game of 2022, their quarterback Mac Jones was nowhere to be found.
During last Thursday’s game against the New York Giants, the New England-based team surprisingly left a handful of notable offensive players on the sidelines. The game features mostly rookie players, including their rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe, a fourth-round pick and alumnus of Western Kentucky University. In addition, head coach Bill Belichick made the executive decision to play wide receiver Tyquan Thornton.
Both players showed significant strengths during the preseason open, Thorton even scoring a touchdown within the first quarter by rushing nine yards.
One theory behind not playing key players is attributed to saving them for joint practices against the Carolina Panthers and Las Vegas Raiders, which are happening in the next two weeks. Belichick weighed in on this lineup and acknowledged that using the rookies makes more sense for a preseason game.
New England Patriots head coach discusses the preseason game against the New York Giants
“Well, the players that played a lot in the game did less in some of the practices leading up to the game, and the players that played less in the game or didn’t play at all in the game, did a lot more,” the New England coach explained.
“So, I think when you look cumulatively, over, call it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, which actually we have — the volumes are pretty close. So, some guys played a lot in the game, but really didn’t get a whole lot of practice reps.”
“Now, they did in the stadium practice, where everybody got a lot of reps in, so those were split up pretty evenly. But from that point on, I would say the overall number is sort of the same, but some of the numbers were a lot higher in the game, some of the other numbers were a lot higher in practice,” Belichick continued. “Both in terms of the number of plays and the actual volume of what the player did, I think it balanced out. Not perfectly, but it balanced out.”
The New England Patriots ultimately lost to the New York Giants with a final score of 23-21, but the coach doesn’t seem particularly worried about the rest of the season. In fact, he slightly snubbed the opposing team for their playing tactics.
“Well, with what the Giants were doing, there’s a lot of reasons for some of the things that we did just to try to manage the game. So, just leave it at that,” he said.
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