Patriots' reportedly won't play starters against Giants Thursday night


If you were on pins and needles to see how Mac Jones and the starting offense would look in Week 1 of the preseason Thursday night, you'll have to wait another week to get some clarity.

ESPN's Mike Reiss reported Thursday morning that Mac Jones and "most" Patriots starters will not play against the New York Giants in the preseason opener. By comparison, Cam Newton -- the projected starting coming into last year's training camp -- played two series with the starting offense before giving way to a rookie Jones in the opening week of 2021's preseason.

This will do nothing to quell the anxiety surrounding the Patriots' offensive performance, though ostensive offensive coordinator Matt Patricia will still get a chance to call some plays and "run" the unit in a game setting and rookies like Tyquan Thornton and Marcus Jones will take the field.

But the calculus behind not playing starters like Jones in preseason is a simple one.

New England has joint practices scheduled next week against the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium and in Las Vegas with Josh McDaniels and the Raiders the following week. Those sessions are typically much more intense and revealing about where a team is than preseason games, in which there isn't much game-planning and teams use basic schemes that typically don't reflect the complexity of what you'd see in the regular season.

In short, the Patriots will have more than enough work on their plate and chances to prove their mettle against another team without playing anyone important in the preseason.

If New England struggles against the Panthers and Raiders in practice or has a tough outing in Week 1 of the regular season, the fact that Bill Belichick sat starters for the preseason opener won't be the cause.