The New England Patriots open their 2022 preseason schedule against the New York Giants on Thursday night and it’s been reported that most of their starters won’t play in the game. Felger, Mazz, and Murray all feel that it isn’t a good sign that the starters won’t make an appearance in the preseason opener.
Felger: I don’t think the team is ready. So if the team’s not ready, how do you throw them out there? That makes perfect sense to me and it’s perfectly logical. It blows it that this is the state of the team and they’ve gotten off to what feels like in some ways even a purposefully slow start. So they’re just not ready to go. Bill’s trying to hide it in some regards. Maybe he’s ashamed in some regards that now people are going to see this, not just writers writing about it, and the few thousand people down there training camp, I think the game is going to be on NFL Network, so now it’s really there for the world to see how far behind the team is. So I don’t think he’s particularly interested in that narrative. I think he should be slightly concerned about what it’s going to do the fragile buy-in of his players. This is something we’ve talked about as well. What is the buy-in of their team and their quarterback? What if they go out there and get smushed tonight? Is that further, you know, is it another bad day and it just goes from bad to worse? I think that’s something he’s got to consider too Mazz.
Mazz: Yeah. So again, I want to rephrase how I said this, you know that “they’re not ready.” He doesn’t have them ready is the way I want to say it. Bill doesn’t have them ready to play a game. And so because again, I think this all goes back to Bill, I think it goes back to the decision to have Patricia and Judge on the offensive side of the ball, the decision to change the offense and, you know, the arrogance or the you know, I’ll use the word laziness. I don’t think Bill is lazy per se as much as he is, just can’t do as much as he used to. He doesn’t have them ready to go yet. So I put it on him. I don’t put it on the players, I put it on him. I think the guys are working. I just think they’re not picking it up. And he’s tried, you know, he’s flying by the seat of his pants here a little bit. Now, Mike, just quickly, can they rectify it by the opener? Yeah, yeah, at least enough. I mean, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t concerned about it. I am. Because I think tip oftentimes if you start slow, it then takes more time to catch up. And so you might not be ready to go at the start of the season. I would bet on that. But could they, you know, catch up quickly and somehow between now and then? Sure, they could. Yes. But right now, tonight, he doesn’t have them ready to play a game.
Jim Murray: I just think it’s kind of shameful that that like the way you explain it, like I get the logic of it, Mike. But he’s essentially like hiding them and he’s hiding this new offense from the world to see. And I think he would be better served and they would be better served to go out and take their lumps now to try to work their way through it again. Like, I know one of the excuses is going to be, well, they got these joint practices coming up. I’m sorry, joint practice isn’t a live game, even a preseason game. You’re better served, I would think, to rip the band-aid off, get thrown right into the fire, whatever cliche you want to use, and have those guys at least go out there and play a few series tonight with your starters.
Felger: So this might have been the plan. I’m not saying, Mazz, I think you referenced that he had intended to, you know, play in this game and then change his mind. I’m not convinced of that. You know, I went back and just looked at some of the recent first preseason games. Brady typically didn’t play in this game. Cam Newton did, you know there was no preseason games that covered year in 2020 and 2021? Newton did start the first preseason game. I know Brady has played some of the first preseason games. It changed year to year. It felt like the last several he wasn’t playing in the first preseason game. Remember, one of those first preseason games was in Detroit, where Brady refused to get on the plane because he was on a contract thing. So like it’s really hard to draw a hysterical, not hystorical, historic, historical record. The whole thing’s hysterical! Historical, parallel to it. Exactly. But they should be ready. You got like, wouldn’t it feel good if they were dialed in, firing on all cylinders, strong first week to camp, they come out, the starters have a series or two, it looks like they’re on track. Like wouldn’t everyone, including the players themselves, all feel better about themselves? So whether it was intentional or not, I don’t know. Was it planned or not? I don’t know. It should’ve been. And the fact that they’re not playing tonight, bad sign.