If there’s anybody in the NFL who doesn’t need to play in the preseason, it would be four-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. At least, you would think so. Patriots coach Bill Belichick, on the other hand, apparently feels differently.
Curiously, Brady wound up playing the entire first half of New England’s preseason finale on Thursday night, a game starters typically skip entirely. Some work was expected for the 11-time Pro Bowler, who missed time with a hand injury and is suspended for the first four games of the regular season, but nobody expected Belichick to leave his star on the field that deep into a meaningless game.
Even more curious than the decision was Belichick’s explanation. Based on his remarks, via NFL.com, Brady played as long as he did because the two-time league MVP needed the reps to improve.
“You can’t take insurance out on players,” he said. “You play football, you play football. I don’t know how you get better playing football without playing football. You can stand around and talk about it all day, but I don’t think that really makes you a better player. At some point you have to get out there and play.”
Some point for Brady probably should’ve been Week 5 against the Browns, which is when Belichick will be jumping for joy, as much as that man does, to get his starting signal caller back from suspension. Had Brady sustained an unfortunate injury in the second quarter on Thursday, the question about his playing time would’ve been far more difficult to answer.
Brady survived the contest unscathed and was OK in his half of football, completing 16 of 26 passes for 166 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Not sure how much better he got or more prepared for the season ahead, but it’s in the history books now, along with everything else this head coach-quarterback combination has accomplished.