The third preseason game is usually the game in which NFL teams like to stretch out their starters some, usually opting to rest them in the final game. And as the Patriots approach their third preseason tilt on Saturday night against the Lions, Bill Belichick and Co. have to figure out how much they'll use their starters.
Of course, arguably the most important starter for the Pats is quarterback Tom Brady. The quarterback position is one that timing and cohesion is important, particularly with the receivers. When you factor in the limited game action No. 12 has had with say, Chad Ochocinco, it furthers the case for him to take a few extra snaps on Saturday.
However, the other side of the argument is a compelling one, as well. The very last thing the Patriots want to do is see their leader get hurt in a "meaningless" game. Also, consider the fact that Ndamukong Suh will pinning his ears back across the line of scrimmage, and you have a strong case to limit Brady's playing time. Just ask Andy Dalton. Or Jake Delhomme. Maybe it's just something against the color orange?
Either way, the final decision is up to Belichick. This is the same guy, mind you, who sat Brady and a majority of his starters in the preseason opener, and then said a week later that everyone on the roster is expected to play 60 minutes if called upon.