If you’re a Patriots fan hoping to see the starters face a true challenge Friday night, you mind wind up sorely disappointed.
After sitting out last week’s preseason opener, Mac Jones and most of New England’s healthy starters are expected to play against the Panthers, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. However, Carolina head coach Matt Rhule on Wednesday revealed that he plans to play mostly second- and third-stringers, meaning Jones and the Patriots offense won’t be going up against a real NFL defense.
Additionally, neither Baker Mayfield nor Sam Darnold will play Friday night at Gillette Stadium, the Panthers announced. Instead, Carolina will alternate veteran quarterback P.J. Walker and rookie Matt Corral.
So, New England’s defense won’t be tested, either.
While this is a bummer for fans, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this week’s joint practices with the Panthers taught us a few important things about the current state of the Patriots. Jones and the offense squared off against a talented defense in multiple competitive periods — and did relatively well.
Reminder: The Patriots will visit Josh McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders next week for a pair of joint practices and a preseason game.
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