Patriots

Panthers plan to play Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey vs. Patriots

cam_newton_panthers_sidelines.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Photo

Panthers plan to play Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey vs. Patriots

Patriots fans have seen Tom Brady in uniform this preseason; they've just seen him on the sidelines during each of the team's first two preseason games.

But Brady isn't the only star who hasn't seen any preseason action so far this year; the Panthers have also held out quarterback Cam Newton, running back Christian McCaffrey, and linebacker Luke Kuechly to this point.

That's about to change this week, however. Carolina head coach Ron Rivera confirmed Monday that all three players will see action Thursday in Foxboro, along with the rest of the Panthers starters.

“They’ve been the gold standard for a long time,’’ Rivera said, via ESPN's David Newton. “You want to go out and see just how good you are. It is a good measuring stick as to who we can be as a football team.’’

Yet while Rivera was forthcoming about his plans for playing time, Bill Belichick played it closer to the vest Monday. When asked if Brady would play against Carolina, Belichick broke out a familiar refrain.

"As always, we’ll do what’s best for the football team — for each player, and for the team."

Click here for Phil Perry's 53-man Patriots roster projection>>>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Patriots vs. Bengals Injury Report: Julian Edelman misses practice, Tom Brady limited

Patriots vs. Bengals Injury Report: Julian Edelman misses practice, Tom Brady limited

The New England Patriots had several important players on their Wednesday injury report.

Veteran wide receiver Julian Edelman was the only Patriots player who didn't practice. He's nursing knee/shoulder injuries. The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported Edelman's absence was for "load management." Edelman wasn't the only wideout listed -- N'Keal Harry (hip) was a full participant and Mohamed Sanu (ankle) was limited.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was a full practice participant but is listed on the injury report with a right elbow issue. He anticipated this scenario during his press conference after Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. 

New England's Week 15 opponent is the Cincinnati Bengals, who have seven players on their injury report ahead of Sunday's matchup at Paul Brown Stadium. Three of quarterback Andy Dalton's top weapons on offense -- wide receivers John Ross III (limited) and A.J. Green (did not practice), and tight end Tyler Eifert (limited) -- are listed. Injuries to key players is among the many reasons why the Bengals have a league-worst 1-12 record.

Here are the first Week 15 injury reports for both teams.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-3)

DID NOT PRACTICE
Julian Edelman, WR, Knee/Shoulder

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
JaWhaun Bentley, LB, Knee
Byron Cowart, DL, Concussion
Ted Karras, OL, Knee
Jason McCourty, CB, Groin
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Ankle
Danny Shelton, DL, Shoulder

FULL PARTICIPATION
Tom Brady, QB, RIght Elbow
N'Keal Harry, WR, Hip

CINCINNATI BENGALS (1-12)

DID NOT PRACTICE
Geno Atkins, DT, Non-injury related
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Non-injury related
A.J. Green, WR, Ankle

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
Tyler Eifert, TE, Non-injury related
Sam Hubbard, DE, Knee
John Ross III, WR, Foot
Renell Wren, DT, Hip

Pats sign trick-shot kicker to practice squad>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Matt Cassel: How Bill Belichick will handle 'Spygate 2.0' behind the scenes

Matt Cassel: How Bill Belichick will handle 'Spygate 2.0' behind the scenes

When “Spygate” originally went down, we as New England Patriots players were unaware of anything that was going on. 

The story became national news pretty quickly. You'd turn on the television and hear everyone calling us cheaters and saying, “This is the reason why they’ve accomplished what they’ve accomplished.” 

It was so blown out of proportion, and it was all speculation at that point.

We were going into our second week of the 2007 season, and Bill Belichick addressed the team to discuss the elephant in the room.

He said, “Look, this is what’s going on, but it’s nothing you guys need to be concerned with. It’s a league issue, and you guys have nothing to do with it."

It was a general statement just notifying the team: "You’re going to be asked about it. I’ll handle the questioning on it."

The fact of the matter was, he wanted to get back to status quo. He reminded us that we had a game that week, and that we had to focus on that.

After that, it was business as usual. “Spygate” wasn’t this overarching theme he addressed constantly throughout the week. Once he said his peace in that first meeting, we were on to the San Diego Chargers (our next opponent), and then the week proceeded as usual.

I think this week's circumstances are completely different from when that development first broke in 2007. 

The players and football staff have no understanding of anything the production team is doing. ... We never saw those guys.

This situation is something in which the film crew for the Patriots' in-house production team was doing their show, "Do Your Job," on an individual scout.

The players and football staff have no understanding of anything the production team is doing on week-to-week basis. We never saw those guys unless they requested an interview with us like any other media outlet.

They weren’t at practice, they were never in meetings. There’s just no communication between them and the players and coaching staff, unless they're doing a story on one of us.

So, this is outside even the realm of football, really.

It's a mishap by the Patriots' production group in that they forgot or didn't acknowledge the rules, and because of the history, everybody immediately draws the conclusion that Bill had something to do with it and this team is somehow benefiting from this. 

That's false -- especially when you're talking about the Cincinnati Bengals, who have won one game all year. That's what makes it more comical when you consider the circumstances.

My guess is Bill won't make more than one quick statement to the team about this.

He'll say, “Look, none of you guys have anything to do with it. Even as a team and a coaching staff, we have nothing to do with this. You let me address it in the media, and if you don’t have any common knowledge of it -- which none of us do -- then there’s really no reason to comment on it.” 

That’s it. Then it’s back to business, back to the work week and back to getting ready for the Bengals. I don’t think it will be brought up any more than that.

Editor's note: Matt Cassel had a 14-year NFL career that included four seasons with the New England Patriots (2005-2008). He's joining the NBC Sports Boston team for this season. You can find him on game days as part of our Pregame Live and Postgame Live coverage, as well as every week on Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk podcast and NBCSportsBoston.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.