New England Patriots
'Meaningless Games' Becoming More Meaningless?
By: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com - Aug. 13
CINCINNATI, OH -- ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s interesting to see how Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is starting to treat exhibition games.
In the past, like all other NFL teams, the entire starting units would play a couple of series, a half, or even into the third quarter in the third exhibition game. The rest of the league continues to operate that way.
Belichick seems to be changing that theory.
HeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s now simply turning them into what they really are, and theyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢re now simply four glorified scrimmages.
Earlier in the week Belichick had told reporters that he was hoping to create some situations and put together some different combinations of players in order to allow the coaching staff to be able to evaluate how they would perform when faced with them on the field.
ThatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s basically what happened Friday night.
He took a look at several offensive and defensive combinations, which included sitting some veteran players down for the night, so he could get a look at some of the younger players. With 80-players to evaluate, along with mandatory cut downs, thereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s a limited time both he and the coaching staff really have to make these personnel decisions. As a result with the lack of starters in the final preseason game last season, along with the strange player combinations that fans saw Friday night, it appears that thanks to Belichick you will likely begin to see this new trend continue to spread in the National Football League.
-- QB Doug Flutie will get some playing time against the Saints this week, which is sure to please the home crowd at Gillette Stadium since Flutie, a Natick, Mass., native and former Boston College star, is a local legend. He did not play against the Bengals, but Belichick expects to use him this week.
"I'm sure we'll give Doug an opportunity to play in this game," Belichick said. "How all of that will break down, I don't know. But I think Doug needs to play and so he'll get a chance.
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