FOXBOROUGH – When the Patriots opened the preseason last Thursday with a 23-6 loss to the Washington Redskins, Tom Brady and most of the projected starters were bystanders.
When the Patriots match up against the Philadelphia Eagles Friday for their second preseason game, the veteran quarterback hopes to get a piece of the action.
How much does Brady anticipate on playing Friday?
“As much as Coach [Bill Belichick] will let me. He makes those decisions and I’ll be ready to play for as long as he wants me to,” Brady said after Wednesday’s joint session with the Eagles.
“That’s very valuable playing experience for me, too. It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been doing it, you still got to get out there and play in game situations and get your body going and at the level it has to be at.”
For the second consecutive week, the Patriots participated in joint practices – this week with the Philadelphia Eagles – in preparation for Friday’s game.
As players noted last week when they practiced against the Washington Redskins, it’s been helpful to match up against a real opponent, rather than practicing against their own players, where it’s easy to anticipate plays before they happen.
For Brady, who won’t see as much preseason playing time as backups Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo, the joint practices have presented a great opportunity to prepare for the regular season.
“They’re great because you get a lot of really good competitive work in,” Brady said. “In a preseason game, I don’t get as much reps so certainly, a lot of situational stuff we did today is so valuable.
“Even though you know it, it’s just great review and great things to go over and remind yourself of so when the games actually count, you feel like you’re a little bit ahead.”
The weather conditions were nasty at camp Wednesday, as rain pounded the practice field for nearly the entire two-hour session with the Eagles.
Every now and then, Brady sailed a pass toward the sidelines or overthrew an open receiver. At one point, as the rain started coming down sideways, Brady lost the handle on the ball as he dropped back and attempted a pump fake.
For the majority of training camp, the weather has been warm and sunny, so Wednesday’s sloppy conditions posed a new challenge for both teams.
“It was good, it was kind of a New England-type day,” Brady said. “We had a bunch of these last year. Really, for the most part, the weather has been great all camp. It’s good to get work in like this, especially against a playoff-caliber team it’s always good, so it’s been a good couple of days.”
Midway through Wednesday’s 11-on-11 drills, Brady started to taper off with a string of incomplete passes, but he bounced back and finished strong in the hurry-up drill, with a series of completions to Julian Edelman, including a touchdown.
“I think it was poor execution on the drive before, and we just couldn’t get much out of it,” Brady said. “We had another opportunity, which usually doesn’t happen in the NFL, but in practice you do and we did a better job.”