All of New England let out a collective sigh of relief when it was announced that Tom Brady‘s knee injury that he suffered during the Patriots’ joint practice with the Buccaneers was nothing serious.
The Patriots were able to avoid exactly what the Jets were unable to circumvent in Saturday night’s preseason game: a devastating injury early in the season. Although the extent of Mark Sanchez‘s shoulder injury is unknown, the fact remains that he was hurt in a meaningless game, and he could be sidelined to start the regular season because of Rex Ryan‘s decision to play him.
With the Patriots’ final preseason game slated for Thursday against the Giants, Bill Belichick faces the hard decision of whether to play his starting quarterback and risk injury or let him rest before the season opener.
With starters usually getting the most action in the third preseason game, the amount of playing time Brady will receive in Game 4 remains to be seen. In the past 10 years, Brady has only played in three preseason finales — in 2003, 2010 and 2011. Brady sat out the entirety of last year’s game as Ryan Mallett was handed the reins against the Giants.
That scenario could repeat itself on Thursday night as Mallett still has a lot to prove as a backup, but on the other hand, Brady could be eager to get back on the field after the beatdown the Pats took against the Lions last Thursday.