Setting the scene: Patriots-Buccaneers in preseason home opener
|08.16.13 at 4:54 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The question doesn’t appear to be will he or won’t he, but how much?
How much will Tom Brady play in the preseason home opener Friday night against Tampa Bay at Gillette Stadium?
The opposition will be the same team and the same right defensive end – Adrian Clayborn – that bull-rushed Nate Solder into the left knee of Brady on Wednesday in full pads practice, causing all of Patriots Nation to gasp for air.
But after the initial panic subsided, it was revealed that Brady escaped with only a bruised left knee and a very mild sprain. He returned to practice on Thursday, when both teams were in shorts and shells and almost no risk was involved.
Last week, Brady played 16 snaps over two series, with the first drive encompassing six runs and no passes. Brady was 7-for-8 in the second drive, with both resulting in touchdowns. Under normal circumstances, the expectation would be for Brady to play three or four and play into the second quarter but that may not be the case in preseason game No. 2. .
As for the conditions, mother nature is certainly cooperating, with mostly clear skies and temperatures expected around 70 degrees for the 8 p.m. kickoff on national TV (FOX-25).
This is the first Patriots home game since the Boston Marathon attacks. There will be a moment of silence for the victims and an on-field tribute to the Marathon first responders before kick-off.
The two teams are meeting in the preseason for the third straight season and the fifth time since 2007. But this is the first time Tampa Bay has ever played a preseason game at Gillette Stadium, with the previous five games being played at Raymond James Stadium.
The Bucs lead the all-time preseason series, 8-2, while the Patriots have won five of the seven meetings in the regular season, including 2009 when the Pats prevailed, 35-7, in London.
The cover of GAMEDAY magazine continues with a Patriots tradition under coach Bill Belichick. All 10 offseason workout award winners are featured on the cover, led by Brady. Other winners include Rob Ninkovich, Aqib Talib, Solder, Dane Fletcher, Ras-I Dowling, Danny Amendola, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork and Matthew Slater.
WEEI.com’s Christopher Price has a round-up of players fans should expect to see play and those expected to sit this one out.
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