New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick isn’t exactly “talking up” the upcoming Carolina Panthers vs New England Patriots preseason game. This year marks the third consecutive year the Carolina Panthers have matched up against the New England Patriots for preseason week 3.
The third NFL preseason game is commonly known as a “dress rehearsal” for the regular season, but Belichick does not see it that way.
“I don’t. I don’t know what that means,” Belichick said. “In terms of playing time it might be a little different, but in terms of game-planning and strategy, what we see in the regular season compared to what we see the in third preseason game I don’t even think you’re in the same universe. We’re still running our basic plays and we’d expect our opponents would run their basic plays. You get to the opener and start to get to game-planning and scheme, I mean you’re in a totally different ballpark, in my opinion. I don’t see any comparison at all. It’s too far away, I don’t see how you could compare them, from that standpoint.”
Of course, one should never take Belichick at face value. What he says to the media is rarely the full story.
For instance, at Gillette Stadium for the 2014 exhibition game against the Panthers, the Patriots clearly took the game very seriously. From the trash talk to the blitzing and extra curricular activity, the feel from the sidelines was that of a regular season game. Perhaps the Patriots were seeking revenge for their 2013 loss at Bank of America Stadium. Whatever the reason, the game ended in a Panthers shellacking and bruised ribs for Cam Newton, an injury that caused him to miss the season opener in Tampa Bay.
The moral of the story? While Belichick may say the third preseason game is meaningless, a quick look back tells us otherwise. The Carolina Panthers need to be prepared for a physical game on against the Patriots.