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From Foxboro: Patriots-Jaguars set to battle in preseason opener

08.11.11 at 6:19 pm ET

FOXBORO — And so it has finally arrived. No labor talk. No CBA posturing. No contract talk. Just football. Sure it doesn’t count for real and the stars of this game will likely be second and third-stringers. But football and the Patriots have returned to Gillette Stadium.

Some perspective here. The team just began practicing with their regulars – and not even all of them – one week ago.

While the play might not be perfect, the weather sure is. Game time conditions are expected to consist of clear skies, 72 degrees and a pleasant breeze in from the north.

Quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett came out on the field just before 6 p.m. ET, about 90 minutes before kickoff with the Jaguars and started throwing the ball around, just to warm up.

Tom Brady was not spotted and it wouldn’t come as a shocker if Brady didn’t play a single snap.

This is just the second time the Patriots have faced the Jaguars in the preseason, both at Gillette. Back in 2004, the Patriots were skunked 31-0 in the preseason finale but somehow recovered from that emotional blow to post their second straight 14-2 season, en route to their second straight Super Bowl title and third in four years.

As colleague DJ Bean points out, this is the second straight year the Patriots will be opening their preseason against a first-round rookie quarterback as Blaine Gabbert gets the call for the injured David Garrard (back). Last year, the Patriots opened against Sam Bradford and the Rams, who made it to the last week of the season before being eliminated by the Seahawks.

Read More: 2011 training camp, Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots



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