The New England Patriots won’t care if they win or lose Thursday night’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars because the team is only concerned with the development of players on the roster.
Well, the Patriots back-ups will have plenty of time to show what they’ve learned this summer according to the Herald’s Jeff Howe, who reports that five offensive starters will not suit up against the Jaguars.
Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks highlight a list of veteran starters who aren't expected to play tomorrow, per sources.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) August 9, 2017
Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandin Cooks are three of the most important players in the Patriots offense, while his article adds Julian Edelman to the list of absentees. Howe previously reported that running back Mike Gillislee will not play due to his hamstring injury.
Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett will see more time with Brady sidelined and they both need the reps. Garoppolo had an ugly set of practices until he started to face the Jaguars secondary, while Brissett is “a work in progress” according to head coach Bill Belichick. They both need strong preseason performances.
Look for Dwayne Allen to see more time with Gronkowski out of the picture and for the depth players James O’Shaughnessy, Matt Lengel, and Jacob Hollister to see plenty of opportunities. They are vying for one roster spot.
Howe notes that both Cooks and Julian Edelman won’t be playing. Instead, eyes should be on second-year players Malcolm Mitchell and Devin Lucien, along with second-year Patriot receiver Chris Hogan.
Gillislee’s absence has already opened the door for the likes of Rex Burkhead to have more snaps in short-yardage situation so the position is certainly worth monitoring.