Patriots starters not expected to play in Thursday’s preseason opener against Giants

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The New England Patriots are likely taking the conservative approach and leaving their starters on the bench for their opening preseason game against the visiting New York Giants.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss and Dan Graziano reported the news early Thursday.

One of the starters included on that list is quarterback Mac Jones, who has been in the spotlight this week with all of the talk surrounding the early offensive struggles in training camp.

If anything, this night off gives the first-team unit a chance to pull it together ahead of next week’s joint practices with the Carolina Panthers. Perhaps they’ll get on the field against the Panthers in next Friday’s game, or coach Bill Belichick could hold off for a series or two in the preseason finale the following week against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Thursday night’s game still carries significant interest with it being an opportunity to get a look at some of the other players fighting their way up the depth chart.

This will also be a chance to see rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe under center. He should get plenty of reps in his first official NFL game, along with Mr. Dependable, Brian Hoyer.

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Story originally appeared on Patriots Wire