All throughout the preseason, one of the key storylines surrounding the Patriots was just how much work should be heaped onto Tom Brady's shoulders.
Brady was going to be out for the first four games of the season, but was it crucial to give him even more exhibition-game work than usual in order to get him prepared for Week 5? Or should the majority of reps have gone to Jimmy Garoppolo as he readied himself to become a starting quarterback? And where did rookie Jacoby Brissett fit in?
As it turned out, Brady finished the summer having taken fewer game reps than both Garoppolo and Brissett. He missed the first two preseason games of the year -- one for family reasons and one due to a thumb injury he suffered before the start of preseason game No. 2 -- and finished with 54 snaps total in games against the Panthers and Giants.
Garoppolo and Brissett, meanwhile, recorded 112 and 111 reps, respectively.
By the looks of Sunday's 33-13 win over the Browns, Brady couldn't have been more ready for Week 5. He threw for over 400 yards and posted a quarterback rating of 127.7. But on Monday's edition of the Kirk and Callahan Show on WEEI, Brady acknowledged that he would have liked to play more than he did during the preseason.
"I think just personally I would love to play as much as I can because I think that’s how you learn and get better and you get used to the speed and the tempo things, and then you’re able to really kind of feel the game," Brady said. "Then when the regular season comes, you get out there and you’re kind of ready to go.
"I didn’t probably have as much time as I would have wanted to in the preseason, but that was a product of a lot of things. You just try to do the best you can do with what you’ve got."
In Brady's absence, the quarterback who got the most preseason snaps performed well. Though a shoulder injury cut short Garoppolo's time behind center, he ended up throwing for 496 yards and four touchdowns in nearly six quarters of work.
When asked about Garoppolo's performance Monday, Brady lauded his 24-year-old backup.
"He’s done such a great job," Brady said. "Not only in the games, but just in the practices. His leadership and what he provides a team is just awesome. I’m so proud of him. He’s done everything that everyone’s asked. He’s taken advantage of the opportunities. That’s anything you can ask of a player. It’s great to see him do it. He brings it every day, and that’s what it takes to be a pro football player."